Mazda plans small SUV, report says

Mazda's small SUV will be based on the new Mazda2, due in the summer, the Nikkei reported. The current Mazda2 is shown.

TOKYO -- Mazda Motor Corp. may be the next entrant into the small SUV segment. A Mazda2-based crossover is due later this year, a Japanese report said.

The vehicle would be timed for this summer's expected redesign of the Mazda2, Japan's Nikkei business daily reported Sunday, without saying where it got the information.

Mazda declined to comment, calling the report speculative.

The Mazda2-based crossover would slot below the current CX-5 and initially be sold only in Japan, the Nikkei reported. Sales would eventually expand to Europe and emerging markets, it said.

The article didn't mention plans for North America.

Mazda's decision would follow other carmakers in pursuing subcompact crossovers. Honda, for example, has begun selling the Vezel crossover, which is derived from its subcompact Fit hatchback. Honda plans to make that crossover at its new plant in Mexico and sell it alongside the Fit in the United States.

Mazda's crossover would be priced between 1.5 million yen and 2.0 million yen ($15,000-$20,000), the Nikkei said.

In Japan, it would also get an optional diesel powertrain.

Separately, Mazda also plans to introduce the mid-sized CX-9 crossover to Japan with its next redesign, as early as 2015, the Nikkei said. That vehicle is made in Hiroshima, but not sold in Mazda's home market, where the CX-9 is considered big.

Adding the CX-9 and the subcompact crossover would expand Mazda's crossover lineup to three vehicles in Japan.

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