Mazda hopes to build a premium supermini to rival the Citroën DS3 and BMW Mini, a senior official from the company has revealed.

Ichiro Hirose, vice-president of research and development at Mazda Europe, said the Japanese car maker "was interested in the premium sub-B class, and we could have a car launched within the next two or three years".

Few details of the project are yet known, but the class, which would be new to Mazda, is forever expanding. The Vauxhall Adam is the latest model to be launched in the segment.

Mazda looked at the idea of a more upmarket city car with the 2008 Kiyora concept, aimed at the rising number of global urban dwellers.

However, any production car is likely to look very different from the Kiyora, which was created when Laurens van den Acker was in charge of design. Since then, a new Japanese design chief, Akira Tamatani, has arrived and introduced a new design language, seen on the CX-5 and new Mazda 6.