MAZDA AUSTRALIA has today confirmed that it will begin sourcing its Mazda2 light car from Thailand instead of Japan next year.
Currently, all Australian-delivered Mazda2s come from Mazda's Hiroshima assembly plant in Japan.
From mid-2010 onwards, the newly-refurbished Auto Alliance Thailand plant in Rayong will build Mazda2 models for the Australian market, including an all-new sedan variant.
The Thai-produced Mazda2 will also be sold across the Asia-Pacific region, with the Japanese company gearing up to build 50,000 Mazda2s at the Rayong plant each year.
Mazda2 production at the Auto Alliance facility started last month, while the plant also produces the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 utilities. Thai assembly of the Ford Fiesta is slated to begin there soon.
The introduction of Thai-built Mazda2s to Australian roads will bring a new front-end design for the car, with the Rayong-sourced cars sporting Mazda's now-familiar corporate grin.
No other major changes for the Mazda2 have been announced, however preliminary specs for the sedan have been released. It will be powered by the same 76kW 1.5 litre inline four as the three and five-door hatch, while boot capacity will be a substantial 450 litres.
Full specifications and pricing information will be released closer to the updated Mazda2's launch midway through 2010.