While we eagerly await for our opportunity to take to the 2's helm, our expectations of the new car have just been heightened thanks to its win in Japan's Car of the Year competition. Called "Demio" in the land of the rising sun, Japanese journalists handed out Mazda's second COTY award since the CX-5 took the title in 2012.
In more surprising news, the new Jeep Cherokee has made the list of 10 Best Cars in Japan. The Jeep's triumph marks the first time an American car has cracked the top ten, finishing eighth. It's not, however, the first Fiat Chrysler vehicle to snag the title, following in the footsteps of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Fiat Panda. Still, the fact that an American brand can make such impressive inroads into the traditionally tough-to-crack Japanese market is a seriously big deal.
Take a look below for the official press releases from Mazda and Jeep.
UPDATE: The original, Google-translated Jeep press release has been replaced with an official English translation.
New-generation subcompact aims to change the way people see this class of car
Mazda secures Japan's leading automotive award for second time in three years
The all-new Mazda2 (Mazda Demio in Japan) was named the 2014-2015 Car of the Year Japan yesterday (13 October). Mazda's next-generation supermini is thereby the second Mazda to capture the coveted award in three years after the Mazda CX-5 won in 2012-2013.
Recently launched in Japan, the all-new Mazda2 is the fourth new-generation Mazda equipped with the full range of SKYACTIV technology to go with its striking KODO – Soul of Motion design. It thus joins the Mazda CX-5, Mazda6 and all-new Mazda3. The European market launch is slated for early 2015.
Mazda aspired to build a subcompact that would shatter preconceived notions about B-segment cars, packing the all-new Mazda2 with a wealth of new technology and innovative design features. These include the SKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre, a brand-new clean diesel delivering generous torque together with CO2 emissions under 90g/km, and an extraordinarily ergonomic cabin including the first head-up display in this class and MZD Connect, Madza's remarkably safe and easy to use in-vehicle connectivity concept. The all-new Mazda2 also comes with the company's state-of-the-art i-ACTIVSENSE active safety systems.
All passenger cars with expected annual sales of at least 500 units and announced or launched in Japan between 1 November 2013 and 30 September 2014 were eligible for this year's award. The all-new Mazda2 is the fifth Mazda to win it.
"We are both honoured and grateful that the Mazda2 has received such a prestigious award," commented Mazda Motor Corporation's President and CEO Masamichi Kogai. "This result is thanks to the enthusiastic support of all people who love cars. Inspired by this award, we will continue our quest to build cars that add a certain sparkle to the lives of their owners, and aim to become a one-and-only brand chosen by customers again and again."
Jeep® Cherokee Named a "10 Best Car" for the "Japan Car of the Year Award", a First for an American Vehicle!
－ Fiat Chrysler Japan's 3rd Consecutive Year to Receive Award －
Fiat Chrysler Japan (Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President: Pontus Häggström) began selling the Jeep® Cherokee on May 17 of this year, and now it has been named one of the "10 Best Cars" for the "2014-2015 Japan Car of the Year Award", which is awarded to passenger vehicles selected as best cars of the entire year released in Japan. This marks the first time that an American vehicle has been named this award (※).
Of the lineup handled by Fiat Chrysler Japan, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta was named one of the "10 Best Cars" for the "2012-2013 Japan Car of the Year Award", and the FIAT Panda was named one of the "10 Best Cars" for the same award for 2013-2014. Thus, this most recent award marks the third consecutive year that a vehicle handled by Fiat Chrysler Japan has been awarded a prize as one of the "10 Best Cars". This is also the first time that models from three different brands handled by a single company have been named as "10 Best Cars". In the final round this year, the Jeep Cherokee obtained a score of 15, putting it in 8th position.
The first generation Jeep Cherokee, which was a major hit in Japan and the rest of the world and became the pronoun for the term SUV, was first introduced to Japan in 1985. The new model Jeep Cherokee is the 4th generation model and features revolutionary and modern exterior and interior designs, the traditional off-road performance of a Jeep, excellent on-road performance made possible especially by the adoption of a 9-speed automatic transmission, and approximately 70 safety functions, the most ever in the history of Jeep vehicles.
※ The first time since domestically produced vehicles and imported vehicles were placed in the same category beginning with vehicle selection for the "2002-2003 Japan Car of the Year Award."