Mazda began global launches of the new Demio/Mazda2 subcompact, the fourth model to enter its line-up of new-generation vehicles that equipped with the full range of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and KODO-Soul of Motion design theme, in September 2014. With this redesign, the Company aimed to shatter people’s preconceptions about the subcompact class. By packing in all Mazda’s DNA and analyzing the essential nature of vehicles, Mazda was able to combine both driving pleasure and outstanding environmental and safety performance. At the same time, Mazda advanced its global production framework in order to enable delivery of the model to customers around the world as quickly as possible and without delays, by starting production in quick succession at three production sites in Japan, Thailand and Mexico.

The Demio/Mazda2 Has Shattered Preconceptions about the Subcompact Class

Refusal to accept the compromise of “good enough for a subcompact”

Ayumu Doi,
then Program Manager of the new Demio/Mazda2

Since the release of the first generation model in 1996, the Demio/Mazda2 has become one of Mazda’s key models, with global sales totaling 2.5 million units over the past 20 years. Each generation of the Demio/Mazda2 has consistently brought new value to the segment; the first generation delivered a functional and spacious interior, the second realized driving performance unheard of in a subcompact car, and the third offered sporty styling. With the new, fourth generation Demio/Mazda2, Mazda aimed to condense all of its innovative technologies and design philosophy into the compact body.

All members of the research and development team share a unified vision for the product and for the new Demio/Mazda2 we decided to make ours, “shatter preconceptions about the subcompact class.” The idea was to challenge the conventional thinking that the merit of a car is in proportion with its size. To achieve this, we knew we must refuse to accept the compromise of thinking “that’s good enough for a compact car.”

Our goal was to build an innovative subcompact car that would deliver true pride of ownership, with uncompromising levels of design, driving performance, and functionality as well as environmental and safety performance. And because the Demio/Mazda2 has attracted many customers globally, we had to make it a product which meets the needs of all kinds of customers regardless of gender, age or physique. To achieve these goals, we strove to incorporate all the knowledge and technologies that we have cultivated throughout the development and manufacture of our new-generation models starting with the CX-5 in 2012, and meet the challenge of condensing all of this into the compact body of the Demio/Mazda2.

In the area of environmental performance, one of our challenges was the development of the SKYACTIV-D 1.5, Mazda’s first small-displacement clean diesel engine. It is well known that, in general, diesel engines offer superior efficiency and lower fuel costs than gasoline engines. However, in recent years, the excellent driving performance offered by diesel engines has also attracted a lot of attention. Taking note of these advantages, Mazda developed the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 which first featured in the CX-5. Since then, Mazda has worked to increase acceptance of this engine technology and has succeeded in developing a compact engine suitable for the new Demio/Mazda2.

In terms of safety, we allowed no compromise on the body and chassis adhering to Mazda’s commitment to an ideal driving position, pedal layout, as well as a high level of collision safety performance, realizing highly responsive performance that all customers can enjoy with confidence, whether driving on city streets, in the suburbs, or on the highway.

In addition to the 5–door hatchback launched around the globe, to respond specific market needs, a sedan model is produced in Thailand to be sold in the markets of Thailand and Australia.

I would sum up the value that the new Demio/Mazda2 offers customers as follows. It allows young inexperienced drivers to feel more secure, gives them a sense of composure and will open their eyes to driving pleasure. For those who have experienced a variety of cars, including larger ones, it allows them to have the same sense of security and satisfaction as they had in their previous cars. And for all who drive the new Demio/Mazda2, it enables them to enjoy exciting style and quality unexpected in a subcompact car, a high level of both driving performance and fuel efficiency, and long-distance driving comfort that encourages the driver to drive as far as he or she likes.

Our greatest wish is to brighten the daily lives of customers of varying lifestyles around the world with new Demio/Mazda2 by their side.

Major awards won by the new Demio/Mazda2


  • ■ 2014–2015 Car of the Year Japan
  • ■ 2014 Good Design Award (Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Minister’s Award)


  • ■ Golden Steering Wheel Award (Small Car Category)
  • ■ Red Dot Award: Product Design 2015 Honourable Mention

* For other awards received, see “Major External Evaluation/Awards for FY March 2015”.

The new Mazda2 sedan (produced in Thailand) made its world debut at the Thailand International Motor Expo 2014 (November 2014). Both the sedan and 5-door hatchback models were displayed.

New Value Embodied in Demio/Mazda2’s Environmental and Safety Performance

Mazda has promoted initiatives in accordance with its long-term vision for technology development, “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom.” The basic policy of the vision is to “provide all customers who purchase Mazda vehicles with driving pleasure as well as outstanding environmental and safety performance.” Based on the same engineering concepts as other next-generation models, Mazda has redesigned its innovative base technologies, termed SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, to suit a subcompact car.

Environmental Performance for Global Customers at an Affordable Price

Mazda expects that even in 2020, the world’s key energy sources will continue to be mainly petroleum-based and that the majority of vehicles will still be powered by internal combustion engines. Consequently, Mazda’s Building Block Strategy prioritizes improvements in base technologies, such as improving the engine’s thermal efficiency and reducing the weight of the vehicle body, and then gradually adds electronic devices. This approach to reducing total CO2 emissions does not rely heavily on a small proportion of specific eco-friendly models. Rather, Mazda aims to deliver vehicles with excellent environmental performance at an affordable price to customers worldwide, including emerging countries, which may lack specialized infrastructure.
The new Demio/Mazda2 incorporates a newly developed engine, SKYACTIV-D 1.5. This engine inherits the innovative technologies of the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 liter clean diesel engine available in vehicles including the CX-5, launched in 2012. Combined with a highly-efficient transmission and electric devices such as idling stop system and brake energy regeneration system, SKYACTIV-D 1.5 ensures the new Demio/Mazda2 achieves top class fuel efficiency among passenger cars in Japan (excluding micro-minis and hybrid vehicles).
It also features excellent environment performance that meets the 2009 Japanese Exhaust Gas Emissions Regulations without an expensive NOx aftertreatment system. At the same time, the engine delivers outstanding dynamic performance equivalent to a 2.5-liter gasoline engine.

New Demio/Mazda2

Safety Performance Which Supports Customers to Drive Safely and with Peace of Mind

High safety performance has been pursued in line with Mazda’s safety philosophy, Mazda Proactive Safety.
Various ideas were incorporated to ensure a good driving environment and excellent handling stability to help customers drive safely with a stress-free feeling of security that maximizes their concentration. Mazda has completely redesigned the seat and pedal positions and instrument layout for the new Demio/Mazda2 to enable the driver to maintain correct posture and drive safely and comfortably. The new Demio/Mazda2 fully incorporates Mazda’s advanced safety technology “i-ACTIVSENSE.” Using detection devices such as a milliwave radar and camera, i-ACTIVSENSE helps to avoid collisions or reduce their severity in situation where they cannot be avoided. It also supports safe driving by helping the driver to recognize potential hazards. Moreover, to ensure that the vehicle’s safety functions will protect the driver and passengers and mitigate damage resulting from accidents, the new Demio/Mazda2 adopts the very rigid and safe SKYACTIV-BODY that makes the cabin resistant to deformation.


Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE is an umbrella term covering a series of advanced safety technologies, developed in line with Mazda Proactive Safety. They include active safety technologies that support safe driving by helping the driver to recognize potential hazards, and pre-crash safety technologies that help to avert collisions or reduce the severity in situations where they cannot be avoided. (Availability depends on country or region)


Name Effective when Function
Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) Driving Warns the driver with a sound (or vibrating steering wheel) and a visual display if the vehicle starts to stray from its lane.
Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) Driving Works at lower speeds to automatically apply the brakes when there is a risk of collision. This helps to avoid collisions or reduce the severity if one does occur.
High-Beam Control (HBC) Driving at night Detects oncoming traffic and vehicles in front, automatically switching between high beam and low beam settings.
Acceleration Control for Automatic Transmission Driving slowly
Warns the driver with an alarm and visual display and curbs engine power if the accelerator pedal is pressed excessively while there is an obstacle in front of the car.
Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) Driving (changing lanes) Alerts the driver to the presence of vehicles in the blind spot with an icon in the wing mirror. If the driver indicates to change lanes, the icon flashes and a warning beep sounds.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) Reversing Alerts the driver with an icon in the wing mirror and a warning beep if it detects vehicles approaching from either side while backing out of a parking space or garage.

Interview with Engineer

Pursuing Safety Performance to Brighten Customers’ Lives

Tomiko Takeuchi,
then Staff Manager, Vehicle Development Division

Aiming to Develop a Truly Impressive Compact Car

As the supervisor in the area of vehicle performance and testing, I worked to ensure that all persons involved would understand the goal for the new Demio/Mazda2 and the course of product development. Specifically, I emphasized that what we should do was to develop a compact car with the advantages specific to the compact class yet beyond expectations, or a truly impressive compact car rather than a mere decent one.

Aiming to Perfect Even Hidden Frames and Structures

To build a truly impressive compact car, we committed ourselves to three concepts: excellent crash safety performance, a human-oriented package, and the pursuit of maneuverability. The underlying motivation was that, while the Demio/Mazda2 is a small car, we were determined to provide the highest level of safety performance. While there are visible features that help in choosing a car, vehicles also have hidden frames and structures. We believed that it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to refine those frames and structures to the highest possible level. Aiming to achieve a good balance between rigidity and a lightweight body, we reviewed the functions, materials and thicknesses of parts in detail, ranging from individual frames to small five cm-long parts. In addition, we ran computerized collision simulations countless times to find the overall optimum solution for structures, production methods and materials.

Safe and Comfortable Driving for All Customers, Irrespective of Gender and Physique

The proportion of female drivers is thought to be higher for the Demio than for other Mazda models. To diminish the sense of unease that female drivers tend to have while driving, we paid special attention to the position and feel of the pedals. The accelerator and brake pedals were placed about 2 cm farther outwards than in previous models to allow the driver to reach them with their legs in a natural position. We designed the accelerator pedal so that vehicle gradually starts by responding to the weight of the foot. We aimed to perfect the package and dynamics to completely mitigate the sense of unease experienced by the driver when the car starts to move and to allow the driver to really feel that he/she is directly controlling the car.
We also incorporated ideas to ensure that customers with different physiques would equally appreciate the excellence of the car. One such idea concerned the driver’s seat. Knowing that the front edge of the seat compresses the back of the knee of smaller drivers and prevents them from operating the pedal naturally, I suggested reducing the seat length. However, this might be uncomfortable for larger drivers because they feel the support by the back of the knee is weak. We tried to find a seat length that would be comfortable for both small and large drivers. By continuing a process of trial and error, we reached a solution, which was to modify the backrest rather than to adjust the seat length. We chose a urethane foam material with a good fit and designed it to distribute the body pressure over a large area of the backrest. As a result, we succeeded in developing a seat comfortable for drivers from some 150 cm to 190 cm in height.

Kotozukuri: A Step Forward from Monotsukuri

I believe that, in its ultimate form, Monotsukuri (product development and manufacturing) is really all about kotozukuri (value creation). We want customers to experience new scenery with our cars, rather than regard them as a mere commodity. There are various proposals in the process of the product development and therefore we need to make decisions at every stage. In this process, we base our criteria not on what technology or performance the proposal is concerned with, but on the value the proposal will create for customers. Since the launch of the new Demio/Mazda2, we have received encouraging feedback from our customers, including: “I don’t get tired driving this car, so I always drive farther than planned” and “I feel like I’m becoming a better driver.” These responses greatly motivate us to make further breakthroughs. I will continue questioning myself and members of the product development team: “Exactly what value do we want to offer our customers and what contribution can we make towards that goal?”