By on May 24, 2017

Mazda SUV lineup: CX-3, CX-4, CX-5, CX-8, CX-9 - Images: Mazda

Spotted recently on the streets of Chicago was a Japanese crossover that will never — not in final production form — actually make it to the streets of Chicago.

Nor to the streets of any other American city, for that matter. Wearing no camo and sitting in broad daylight, the diesel-powered Mazda CX-8 was photographed by Peter Lazar, albeit not from the front.

When the 2018 Mazda CX-8 is launched later this year, its primary market will be Mazda’s Japanese home base. “It will not be sold in the U.S., as CX-9 fills that role quite well,” Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown told TTAC yesterday.

Mazda also re-confirmed that the CX-4, a more rakish take on the CX-5, is also still primarily a Chinese market crossover that will not make its way across the Pacific. In other words, 40 percent of Mazda’s global utility vehicle lineup stays outside the mighty SUV market that is America.

In Japan, the CX-9 that serves as Mazda USA’s flagship is deemed too large for the domestic market. The upcoming CX-8 is a three-row vehicle that rides on a similarly lengthy wheelbase. However, the CX-8 is shorter and significantly narrower than the CX-9.

“They are closely related, but they serve different audiences that suit the different tastes (and road widths) of their respective buyers,” Brown said.

In the United States, Mazda feels the CX-8’s space is effectively filled by the equivalently broad CX-5 in gas and upcoming diesel formats, and the larger, turbocharged, five-inches-wider CX-9.

Whether for local executives to get a feel for a vehicle or for marketing campaigns, vehicles not bound for North America do tend to find their way to the United States for one reason or another. In this Mazda’s case, the unique CX-8 badge, diesel signifier, and right-hand drive didn’t capture an inordinate amount of interest, perhaps because the CX-8 looks very much like a CX-9 that spent a few minutes in the dryer.

Mazda’s utility vehicle volume in the U.S. reported a 22-percent year-over-year sales improvement in 2017’s first four months. The CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9 account for slightly more than half of Mazda’s U.S. sales output after claiming responsibility for 44 percent of the brand’s U.S. volume at this stage of 2016.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net and a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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39 Comments on “Confirmed: Mazda CX-8 Will Not Come To America; Mazda CX-4 Still Won’t, Either...”


  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    It would seem counter-intuitive to offer the CX-8 and CX-9 both here since they are so similar.

    The CX-4 intrigues me mostly because it seems like it would be a cool Subaru Outback type lifted wagon thing. But, it wouldn’t sell without Subaru’s brand recognition.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      “Subaru’s brand recognition”

      they have what, 3.5% of US market?

      Most people recognize Subaru as brand that have AWD and engine issues.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        Yep, Subaru has 3.7% of the market, or, more than double the Mazda market share. The company of bad engines and all-wheel drive sold more Legacy’s than 6’s, more Forester’s than CX-5’s, more Crosstrek’s than CX-3’s, more Imprezza’s than 3’s, and seven times the number of Outback’s than the new and improved CX-9’s. Mazda sold about three and a half times more Miata’s than BRZ’s so there’s that.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          so, what does it mean?

          Ah – more people will have engine issues than don’t have them?

          Or, less people will drive for 10 years with no issues

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoomfan

            Subaru is by and large a success story for the size company they are. They have a niche that they cater to well (safety, and AWD). Mazda has a niche (sportiness) that people unfortunately don’t care about. Subaru owners seem to be fiercely loyal folks to me.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            Unbelievably, most people don’t know intimate details about cars. They don’t respond with “engine issues” to a Rorschach test when you show them a pic of a Subaru, nor do they respond with “rust” when shown a pic of a Mazda.

            Subaru has excelled at marketing “Why” for their products (note the “Love” campaign). They have great brand loyalty. The market segment of outdoorsy folks is increasing faster than the ‘sporty but not sports-car’ segment.

            Mazda fails at marketing. They lost the story line when they were marketing the “What” with SkyActiv instead of the “Why” (“Zoom Zoom,” “Driving Matters”). They also admit that their driver-focused identity only appeals to ~20% of the market, which I guess is a lot less than Subaru’s.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Good move on Mazda’s part because they can’t even move the cx-9 off now.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      At least the ones they do sell are completely loaded. There’s some profit there.

    • 0 avatar
      sportypotatoface

      Nobody will ever take a large vehicle seriously with only a 4 cylinder motor. It doesn’t matter how much torque it has. The reason the CX9 is not selling is because it does not have the big motor, and this is also true for the Mazda 6. Luxury buyers want a bigger motor. Until the 6 cylinder comes back, these cars will die off.

      • 0 avatar
        benders

        Just like the new Volvo XC90 with only a 4 cylinder is tanking?

        • 0 avatar
          VW4motion

          Bender, Volvo is breaking sales records with the 4cyl xc90. Mazda’s issue is not just the engine. The cx9 is also a hideous looking vehicle. Front end looks like a cartoon. Packaging is also crap. For $45k you still don’t get a memory or cooled drivers seat. Then you have to account for a sub par dealership experience.

      • 0 avatar
        srh

        None of the women I know give a rat’s ass about how many cylinders a motor has (nor how much torque it has, for that matter) and women are a pretty decent slice of the population from what I hear.

        For that matter, about half of the men I know don’t care either.

        Heck, I’m someone who might care, and the four cars in my garage average 3.5 cylinders each.

        • 0 avatar
          sportypotatoface

          I have no stats, but the women I know are very interested in the mechanics of their vehicles, especially with children to carry. Reliability is important. I would like to say that women are not just looking at the color but are more sophisticated,at least my friends. Especially the ones I have that own BMWs and Mercedes. Can anyone really be so abusrd to pay $45,000 for a car and not know what motor, features, power and warranty it has? Who can trust any of these manufacturers.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            “Can anyone really be so abusrd to pay $45,000 for a car and not know what motor, features, power and warranty it has?”

            LOL. Can anyone really be so absurd to pay $250k for a house and not know what AC it has, it’s SEER, the attic’s R-value, or the house’s kWh/delta_T performance?

            IIRC, Rolls Royce didn’t even publish their power ratings, and their cars cost a bit over $45k.

            I was riding with a coworker to lunch yesterday and all he knew about his engine was “turbo”–not the size or even cylinder count. My unscientific estimate puts him just below the norm–I do think people know cylinder count, but like an AC, they don’t care.

      • 0 avatar
        a5ehren

        The 6 isn’t selling because it’s a midsize sedan not named Camry or Accord. (And it has some NVH issues and the mass market doesn’t care about steering feel, etc)

        The take rate on V6s in that class is like <20% last I heard.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The new Volvo XC90, selling like gangbusters and subject to a 6-month wait at your local Volvo dealer, disproves this statement emphatically.

        • 0 avatar
          Rocket

          Gangbusters? Through April they’ve only sold 6,917 XC90’s here in the U.S. That’s down 36% from just last year alone, and well below the pace they moved them in the mid-2000’s.

      • 0 avatar
        sportypotatoface

        A large 7 passenger vehicle (or even a 5 passenger car) needs a V6 to carry all the passengers and also luggage and even tow something behind it like a boat. It has to be offered for the vehicle to be taken seriously by buyers, and to draw people into the showroom. Tesla has no cylinders, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have equivalent power and torque to carry a full load.

        • 0 avatar
          sportypotatoface

          For the same money, these people have gone to other products that come with towing capacity and larger motors, including BMW, GMC and Toyota. So sales of mazdas won’t reflect those that switched brands. Let’s face it, stats will show 100% of new CX9s are 4 cylinders! Of course, no other motor is offered. But those that went to another brand with a larger motor won’t be included in this stat.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          Sooooo, you’re saying it’s about power and torque to carry a full load and not cylinder count?

          Like how more than half of F-150s are sold with V6s because big trucks need a V8?

    • 0 avatar
      SuperCarEnthusiast

      Heard from another auto pundit that Mazda fears that offering the 2.5L Turbo as an engine option in the CX-5 may take away sales from the CX-9. Mazda wants very much to focus on drivability and not performance going forward. They want their message to be about fun to drive and that is it! Sort of like what Toyota FT 86 and Subaru BRZ was trying to get across to their buyers who wanted more performance!

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I think the CX-4 would be a good way for Mazda to pursue the “fill-every-niche” path of BMW, but they don’t have the resources to sustain that kind of effort.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Last Gen CX9 owner here. Two things I wanted Mazda to address that they have not concerning CUVs are:

    The CX9 should have gone larger (interior not exterior). The current styling is IMO the best on a large CUV however it compromises interior space. Honda does alot more with less. This would have open them up to a new type of customer that needs extra space that the model I have did not provide but Transverse owners love.

    Next was really hoping that they would release the CX7. IMO they would benefit from a largish two row in the vain of the Murano/Edge. I think they are missing out on a big chance with this one.

    Ok one more maybe they should introduce a CX 9.5 Make it 3 inches wider, 3 inches taller and 3 inches longer with a 3 inch longer wheelbase.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yea I want a two row with more room + refinement and that 2.5 really badly. Wifey’s short list of next rides are used Edge/Murano/Venzas… with a good lease deal this could have worked. I loathe 3 rows and most of the 2 rows out now are just too slow.

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      Yeah, I would love a new CX-7 to hit that “2-row but with actual cargo room” spot.

      That said, a CX-9 is basically that 95% of the time when you fold the rear seats down.

  • avatar
    sportypotatoface

    Both of these cars did not pass the crash tests to achieve 5 star ratings. The countries they are selling these vehicles have much lower standards so they will not modify the engineering to allow them in China and Japan.

  • avatar
    sching

    The CX-8 sounds like the CUVified (?) replacement for the 3rd gen JDM (and selected other Asian markets) Mazda 8/Mazda MPV that was finally put out to pasture in 2016 after 11 years on sale.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    From my readings on Mazda marketing, they are hoping their 2.2L diesel will be a hit in the U.S. market. Mazda has no plans that they disclose for more performance gas engines. They feel that the right market campaign is all that needed to generate more sales at a high margin. No incentives for dealers or buyers going forward is their primary goal along with high profit margins.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      They have said that the 2.5L, 2.5L turbo, & 2.2L diesel were all designed to fit in the same space, so it’s almost plug-and-play to add engine variants to the CX-5, 6, and even 3.

      They hope to get a 10% take rate on the diesel CX-5, and that will determine if it gets offered in other vehicles. The 6 was supposed to get the diesel as the upgrade engine, but I think they’re waiting on the success of the CX-5 before pulling that trigger. And I also suspect they held off on dropping in the 2.5L turbo because they don’t want to undercut the intended diesel. If the diesel falls flat, then I would expect the 2.5L turbo to find its way into the 6 at some point.

      I doubt they are doing or will do any more work on their current generation of engines. Instead, I think they are pouring everything into HCCI for SkyActiv-II. Rumors say it will hit in 2019. If it does, then all their current engines instantly become obsolete.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I don’t think it’s coincidence that we only get the odd ones

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    CX-*4* in China?? No fear of tetraphobia.


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