Mazda is predicting a lighter, more agile and more frugal replacement for the next-generation Mazda 2 supermini, based on the Hazumi concept shown at the Geneva motor show.
The new Mazda 2 is all-new and based on a downsized version of the Mazda 3/Mazda 6 ?Skyactiv? platform, modified with a lower-cost twist-beam rear axle.
The concept was shown with a 1.5-litre diesel, which will appeal to fleet buyers, but the key engine is the 1.5-petrol, which will sell to private buyers.
Its design was a collaborative effort led by Japan, but with input from studios in Germany and California.
The dominant theme is prominent wheel arches and distinctive folds and creases in the sheet metal, as used on the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6, under Mazda?s Kodo design language
Mazda also expects the new 2 to lift sales across Europe, which are recovering back to pre-economic crisis levels.
The latest sales figures suggest that in the past 12 months Mazda has sold 160,000 units, a significant improvement on the 126,000 sold in the same period last year.
?We are continuing to concentrate on recovery and building up sales of our core models,? says Phil Waring, Mazda Europe boss.
UK sales of the Mazda 2 particularly need a boost after falling back from a peak of around 14,000 just after launch to around 9000 now.
The Mazda 2 is expected to go on sale in the UK in spring next year, a little later than expected after the launch dates in the UK and mainland Europe were aligned.
The Geneva motor show has given us a glimpse of what the coming months has in store for car fans. From a brand new Renault Twingo, to the stunning Maserati Alfieri concept and on to the Lamborghini Huracán and Audi TT.
While those cars continue to make headlines, Geneva is also home to an eclectic collection of concept cars and production models which, by themselves, don't make the front page. Here's Autocar's pick of the weird and wonderful cars at the Geneva motor show.
The Biofore Concept aims to show how renewable materials could eventually take over from metals and plastics as the main materials for building cars. Built by students at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, the Biofore is made from biocomposite and thermoformable wood and runs on wood-friendly diesel.
Bugatti's 'Lang Lang' special-edition Veyron is inspired by the Chinese concert pianist of the same name. The special, which runs seperately to Bugatti's Legends series, gets new black and white bodywork, new alloy wheel designs as well as gold-plated badges.
The production version of Citroën's C4 Cactus will face off against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf when it goes on sale in the UK in October, priced from around £13,000. Citroën used the Geneva motor show to explore how customers could customise the Cactus, revealing the new C4 Cactus Adventure concept. The Adventure gets new off-road-inspired styling as well as a custom roof box.
One of the more extreme design concepts at the show was the Edag Genesis. Rather than showing a complete car, the Genesis is designed to demonstrate a new car-making process which could potentially save the industry vast sums of money. Styled to look like the shell of a tortoise, the Genesis is made by a new process known as additive manufacturing.
The Quant e-Sportlimousine shows a new advanced battery storage technology, which its makers say performs five times better than current lithium-ion batteries. The 5.35m-long concept is powered by four electric motors, with reports suggesting up to 912bhp is available in total, alongside a 0-62mph sprint time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 236mph.
Lamborghini already has plenty to talk about on its Geneva stand, thanks to the launch of the new Huracán. The Italian supercar builder also showed customers its extensive list of personalisation options, by revealing a heavily modified version of the Aventador.
Some of the cars on display we've seen before, like the BMW Gran Lusso Coupé concept. Revealed in Italy last year, the Gran Lusso aims to show how a new BMW 8-series might look. The four-seat coupé is based on the same platform as the BMW 7-series, with power supplied by a 6.0-litre turbocharged V12 engine with 537bhp.
Cadillac's Emiraj concept was unveiled in Pebble Beach last year, and shows how the brand's styling will evolve in the coming years. With a streamlined design and a rear-wheel-drive layout, the Emiraj gets a prototype chassis and structure plus a luxurious interior featuring titanium, wood and leather trim. Elsewhere, the concept gets 22-inch aluminium wheels with ceramic disc brakes and monoblock brake calipers.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race will take place in June, with new competitors joining the field including the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Powered by a 5.5-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine with just under 500bhp, the C7.R weighs in at 1245kg.
What was your star car from the Geneva motor show 2014? Let us know in the comments section below.
Production of the Jaguar XK is to end in the summer, the company has announced.
Sales of the coupé and cabriolet models have dropped to less than 4000 units per year, following the launch of the F-type models.
Jaguar says that it wants to focus on other upcoming models, including the new XE saloon and F-type coupé that will steal even more sales from the XK range, as it enters a busy 18-24 months.
Sales of the Jaguar XK stood at around 1000 units in the last three months of 2012, but in the last three months of 2013 ? following the launch of the F-type ? sales were down to only a handful of units, the F-type effectively killing off the XK model on which it is loosely based, despite the two models? substantially different price point and positioning.
Jaguar insiders have not ruled out a replacement for the XK in the future, but it?s likely to be a vastly different model to the 2+2 GT it will replace.
At the end of 2012, design director Ian Callum said Jaguar was ?going through a lot of discussion? about how the XK should evolve in the future.
No final decision has yet been taken, but Callum said there was an opportunity to ?allow the car to become a bit more special than a GT?.
?It could grow into the luxury market, and grow in size,? he said. ?Whether it stays the same as a two-plus-two or becomes a two-plus-more-than-two has not been committed to yet.?
The F-type?s launch removes the need for the XK to act as out-and-out sports coupé and luxury GT. With the F-type becoming Jaguar?s dedicated sports car, there?s scope for the XK to focus on its luxury GT credentials.
Back in January, Jaguar announced a reduced XK line-up with a substantial price-cut, which will now act as a run-out range.
Dubbed Signature and Dynamic R, the new models are priced from £54,950 and £69,950 respectively. As part of the 2014 model changes Portfolio specification had been axed, with the range taking a price cut of around £10,000.
The XK Signature model is focused on luxury, while the more sporting Dynamic R model is based on the XKR.
XKR, XKR-S and XKR-S GT versions of the XK are also offered.