2011 Mazda2 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mazda chief executive officer Jim O'Sullivan believes that the company's timing for the launch of the Mazda2 couldn't be better. Despite low gas prices and platform-mate Ford Fiesta rolling onto the scene at the same time, Mazda remains confident that its new B-segment car will be a hit. As Mazda CEO Jim O'Sullivan told Ward's Auto:
I'm glad we're launching now vs. year-ago. A year-ago, we would have launched in the abyss of the market and the economy caving in and all the distractions. When the economy recovers, commodities start to be in greater demand globally. Fuel prices are going to be up over $4, closer to $5 a gallon, so we want to get in before the market gets to that level.
Even though O'Sullivan believes that the Mazda2's timing is perfect, we're led to believe otherwise. As the economy rebounds, buyers have slowly turned towards more upscale models. And with low gas prices, sales of SUVs and truck have risen once again. Even though the Mazda2 is the most fuel-efficient vehicle the company has ever offered in the U.S., gas prices well below the $3 mark (well, maybe not) may hamper its initial success. Not to worry though, Mazda's smallest zoom-zoom offering readies the company for the inevitable day when gas prices skyrocket once again. Plus, we hear it's pretty darn fun to drive.

[Source: Ward's Auto – Sub. Req'd]

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