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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Mazda Pins Revival of Fortune on Large Platform Vehicles

The Nikkei reports that Mazda’s upmarket push isn’t going well so far. Compounded by the on-going pandemic, the carmaker is expecting its global sales to drop 8 percent for the fiscal yar ending March 2021 to 1.3 million units.

Despite unanimous critical acclaim including its win as the World Car Design of the Year, Mazda3 sales have remained lukewarm. In fact, last November it had a 21.2 percent year-on-year decline.

The same goes for Mazda’s new EV/hybrid crossover, the MX-30. While the carmaker initially projected sales upward of 1,000 units per month in Japan, some regions have only sold half that amount with buyers citing its “freestyle doors” to be heavy and difficult to use in narrow parking spaces.

Thankfully, the CX-30 has been carrying the brand with a strong 83.1 percent growth year-on-year, while the aging but competitive CX-5 remains solid with a small drop of just 5.1 percent. The dip in CX-5 sales is attributed to tightening environmental regulations in Europe which has forced Mazda to raise their prices there.

With that, reports coming out of Japan say that Mazda’s pinning their hopes for a reversal of fortune on its large product architecture.

Citing suppliers based in Hiroshima, the large product architecture will spawn not just a sedan, but a large SUV “in a popular series” as well. It will come standard with rear-wheel drive and will be equipped with inline-6 engines in gasoline, diesel, and Skyactiv-X flavors. Displacement will be either in 3 or 3.3-liters and will offer mild electrification technology.

The more interesting bit of news coming out of Japan is that these SUVs will be “priced significantly than existing models” due to their high specification levels. This means that Mazda will likely sell them alongside the existing CX-5 and CX-8 using the CX-50 and CX-80 monikers, following the CX-30’s naming convention.

If the bit about the engine is proven true, this will qualify Mazdas using the large product architecture to enter the Philippines with zero import duties and half the excise tax based on the terms of JPEPA and the TRAIN Law, respectively.

Vehicles using the new large product architecture will start production at Mazda’s Hofu plant in early 2022. It will, citing multiple sources, compromise just 20 percent of Mazda’s global sales or around 300,000 units by fiscal year ending 2025.

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