Mazda North American Operation’s top executive confirms the Mazda2 B-segment car will be sold in North America beginning in late 2010.

MNAO officials for years have pondered introducing the small car in North America, but until now a business case could not be made, says MNAO CEO and President Jim O'Sullivan.

“As consumers’ tastes and attitudes towards 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,” O’Sullivan says in a statement.

“Mazda2 will be true to everything that makes our cars stand apart from the competition: It will be stylish, fun-to-drive and a heck of a value.”

MNAO says more details on the North American-spec Mazda2, including body and engine configurations, will be revealed at the Los Angeles auto show in December. The car comes in 3- and 5-door versions, with several diesel and gasoline engine options in other global markets.

The latest-generation Mazda2, known as the Demio in Japan, shares a platform with the Ford Fiesta B-car, also set to debut in North America in 2010.