Mazda has announced that it will produce a compact vehicle for Toyota at its new plant in Mexico. Mazda's new plant is currently under construction and is scheduled to open by March 2014.
The Toyota-badged vehicle will be based on the Mazda2 compact car. Mazda says the vehicle will be sold “mainly in North America”, indicating some models could be built for export. Toyota's version of the Mazda2 will enter production in the summer of 2015 at a pace of 50,000 units per year.
In exchange for access to the Mazda2 platform, Toyota will pay for an “appropriate portion” of the equipment and development costs need to make the vehicle at the Mexico plant.
No further details were released, but Toyota's version of the Mazda2 could be sold as the Yaris. Toyota's entry-level Yaris was refreshed for the 2010 model year, with 2015 a seemingly logical replacement date. Toyota has sold just over 26,000 Yaris models this year, so 50,000 units would be enough to fulfill demand.
The Mazda2 platform should give the Yaris a healthy does of driving fun. Toyota president Akio Toyoda has made it a priority to improve the driving dynamics of Toyota vehicles and the Mazda2, which is widely considered the most agile car in its class, should help with that goal.