|Mazda Demio History|
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The Demio (also sold as the Mazda 121, Mazda Metro, Mazda2 and Ford Festiva Mini Wagon) is a small minivan or tall station wagon which debuted in 1996. As of 2005, 892,000 Demios had been sold worldwide since introduction.
In the 1980s Ford approached Mazda to create a B-segment small car for it. This resulted in the 1987 Ford Festiva. The same platform spawned the Autozam Revue in 1990, which Mazda sold as the 121 in most markets. Then the Festiva was redesigned in January 1993, still based on the same platform. Kia also built versions of the first and second Festiva, both for itself and for Ford's sale in the United States.
When it came to redesigning the Revue, Mazda came up with a tall hatchback, minivan-esque package (the Revue was already over 1500mm tall). Introduced in a time full of negative press coverage, the Demio became a surprise hit for Mazda in Japan, and also foreshadows the current crop of B-segment minivans such as the Opel Meriva, Fiat Idea and the Renault Modus.
The new 1996 Demio (sold as either the Demio or 121 outside Japan, or Metro in Australia) used the DW platform. Production started in July of 1996. The Demio was updated for 2000 with a revised exterior, cabin air filtration, retuned automatic transmission, and available DSC. It was also sold in Japan as the Ford Festiva Mini Wagon.
NBA star Scott Pippen appeared in the TV commercials for the Demio's launch.
The Demio was redesigned in 2002 on the DY platform. The Demio name continued in Japan, while the rest of the world dropped Demio and other names in favor of Mazda2. The badge-engineered Ford version is no longer made, as Ford began importing the Fiesta into Japan. In some European markets, Germany for example, it is also sold as Ford Fusion with slightly different head- and taillights. It is based on Ford's Fiesta on the Global Ford B3 platform which is based on Mazda's DY platform. The car is produced for Europe at a Ford plant in Valencia, Spain. North American sales of the Mazda2 are expected to start in 2007, where other subcompacts (Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit) will also debut. It will fill the gap in Mazda's subcompact line since the Mazda 323 hatchback was discontinued for North America in the mid-1990s.
All Demios come with ABS and EBD, and stability control is optional. An innovative feature offered in Japan is e-4WD, a hybrid car-type system which uses an electric motor to power the rear wheels of this front wheel drive vehicle when needed. In the Demio, this system is used only as a traction aid, not for increased fuel economy as in most other vehicles.
Three trim levels are available, each targeted by Mazda at a different demographic:
The Mazda2 is sold with a variety of Z-family engines:
In 2004 Mazda introduced the Verisa in Japan. The Verisa is based on the Demio but targeted further upmarket.
In April 2005 Mazda announced a facelift for this Demio.