Having the smaller Mazda2 in the lineup will help Mazda achieve its goal of a 30-percent improvement in fuel economy by 2015.
The Mazda2, also called the Demio in other world markets, has been a success in Japan and Europe. The Mazda2 won a "World Car of the Year" award at the New York auto show last spring, which wasn't easy for a car that's not offered here.
"As consumers' tastes and attitudes toward small vehicles have changed, we now believe strongly there is a place in our lineup for a car below our current least-expensive car, the Mazda," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. He said Mazda will show a North American-specification Mazda2 at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
Fiat, Mini and Smart are also adding small cars for the U.S. market. So are giants like Ford, General Motors and Nissan, with cars like the Ford Fiesta, the Chevrolet Beat and the Nissan Cube.