Now available: Mazda2, the Demio, goes on sale in Japan

Featuring cars one step up from a minicar, the Japanese subcompact segment was once Mazda's turf. Recently, the company has lost ground to Toyota and Honda in that category, but hopes that today's introduction of the new Demio (known as the Mazda2 elsewhere), will be the spark that brings sales numbers back up. With a starting price of 1.125 million yen ($9,170), that's not unlikely.
The new Demio is about 220 pounds lighter than the previous version (this is comparing the Demio Casual with MZR 1.3L engine and 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission compared to the all-new Demio 13C-V) and gets 20 percent better fuel economy. The Demio 13C-V, using Mazda's MZR 1.3-liter Miller-cycle engine and CVT, has a fuel economy rating of 23.0 km/L. Other environmental aspects of the new Demio, courtesy of Mazda's press release, include:
  • All model grades have exhaust emissions at least 75 percent lower than Japan's 2005 standards. In addition, all grades, except for the 5-speed manual transmission version of the Demio 15C and Demio SPORT, qualify for Japan's Green Tax exemptions.
  • In order to reduce the concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOC), which is a potential cause of Sick-house Syndrome, the Mazda Demio employs low-VOC emitting resins, paints, and adhesives in the cabin. It satisfies the indoor VOC concentration level guideline figures for 13 substances that were set by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The first generation Demio went on sale in August 1996. The most recent generation before today's introduction was released in 2002.

[Source: Reuters, Mazda]

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