Mazda is set to field a competitor to cars like the Nissan Juke, Jeep Renegade and Buick Encore by 2016.
Likely dubbed 'CX-3', the subcompact crossover would slot in under the CX-5 in Mazda's lineup.
Speaking to The Motor Report, Mazda Australia boss Martin Benders has said that a new, smaller Mazda crossover is "not that far away".
The new car would likely share a platform with the new Mazda2 subcompact--a car also sharing its underpinnings with the next-generation Toyota Yaris.
It'll allow Mazda--one of the world's few remaining independent large carmakers--to gain greater economies of scale from the platform. The outgoing Mazda2 shared many similarities under the skin with the Ford Fiesta.
Engines too should be plucked from the 2, which means a range of fuel-efficient Skyactiv gasoline units, while Mazda's lightweight ethos will also continue. The larger CX-5, using similar methods, is among the thriftiest compact crossovers in its class and returns good real-world mileage too, so there'll be high hopes for the smaller Mazda.
Benders says there's an "opportunity" in the subcompact crossover segment. "It’s an area we’d like to be represented in", he said.
Mazda will enter a crossover market that has grown significantly since cars like the Nissan Juke made their debut.
The Buick Encore is now well-established in the market, as is Audi's Q3, and Jeep recently launched its smallest model yet, the Renegade. The Fiat 500X--similar under the skin--is also on the way soon.
Honda plans to field a new Fit-based HR-V in the American market, and Ford announced back in January that it would bring the Fiesta-based Ecosport to the U.S. too. Juke-sized, each will compete closely with the new Mazda.