Mazda drops hints on redesigned subcompact

LOS ANGELES -- Mazda will preview the look of its next-generation Mazda2 subcompact when it reveals the Hazumi concept car next month at the Geneva auto show.

In a statement, Mazda said the Hazumi, a Japanese word meaning "to bound or spring up," showcases "the ideal form of the company's next-generation subcompact car." A teaser image of the Hazumi shows the car's left headlight assembly, sculpted front fender and hexagonal grille that draw from elements of the kodo design theme seen on current products such as the Mazda3 and Mazda6.

For the past few years, Mazda has used its concept cars to preview the designs of coming production vehicles. The CX-5 compact crossover, for instance, mirrored the Minagi concept that debuted at the 2011 Geneva auto show, while the latest Mazda6 mid-sized sedan stayed true to sheet metal of the Takeri concept car seen at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.

The Mazda2 has been one of Mazda's worst-selling vehicles in the United States since arriving in 2010, with sales last year falling 39 percent to 11,757 units. The car is due to be redesigned for the 2015 model year and is expected to arrive in the United States in the second half of this year.

The Mazda2 will ride on Mazda's scalable Skyactiv platform architecture with power coming from a Skyactiv gasoline engine, likely between 1.4 and 1.6 liters, and be built at Mazda's new plant in Salamanca, Mexico.

You can reach Ryan Beene at autonews@crain.com