PALM SPRINGS, CA - Mazda North American Operations' president and CEO, Jim O'Sullivan, confirmed the Mazda2 subcompact (or B-Car classification) car will be sold in the U.S. beginning in late 2010. The car will also be sold in Canada about the same time.

"You've asked us for it for awhile now, and we've been studying the market to make sure we can make a business case for it across North America," O'Sullivan told the company's top dealers in a meeting.  "As consumers' tastes and attitudes toward small vehicles have changed, we now believe strongly there is a place in our lineup for a car below our current least-expensive car, the Mazda3."

Though it will make its U.S. debut next year, the Mazda2 (also known globally as the Mazda Demio) has already been named Car of the Year in more than 20 separate countries and won more than 50 awards across the world. The Mazda2 was also named the 2008 World Car of the Year, up against the Ford Mondeo and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The final North American-specification Mazda2 will be unveiled at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show, scheduled for Dec. 4-13. Further information on specifications, content, pricing, and on-sale timing will be provided closer to launch, according to the automaker.

In the meantime, below are specs for the Mazda2 / Mazda Demio:

Body type: 5-door hatchback, 3-door hatchback, (4-door sedan selected markets only).

Layout: front engine, FWD.

Engine:  103 hp, 101 lb-ft of torque, 1.5L, 16-valve gas DOHC I-4 (1.3L gas, 1.4L turbo diesel, and 1.6L diesel engines available in some markets).

Transmission: 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, CVT automatic.

Dimensions (L/W/H/WB): 153.0 / 66.7 / 58.1 / 98.0 in.

Curb weight: 2,116 lbs.

Brakes: 4-wheel ABS (Dynamic Stability Control standard on Sport).

Trunk: 7.1 cu.-ft.

Horsepower: 75 hp (1.3L gas); 86 hp (1.3L gas high output); 103 hp (1.5L gas); 90 hp (1.6L diesel); 68 (1.4L diesel).

CO2 emissions: 125g/km (1.3L gas); 125g/km (1.3L gas high output); 135 g/km (1.5L gas); 107 g/km (1.4L diesel); 112 g/km (1.6L diesel).

Fuel consumption (European Cycle combined average): 47.9 mpg (1.5L gas engine); 52.3 mpg (1.3L gas engine); 65.7 mpg (1.4L diesel); 64.2 mpg (1.6L diesel).