By on November 25, 2017

mazda cx-5

There’s no automaker with an American dealer network that can’t make do with another high-riding utility vehicle.

If you’re Ford, four is most definitely not enough, so there’s two more on the way — one exciting, the other decidedly not. If you’re General Motors, you’ve already green-lit the import of a Chinese-built crossover to fill a hole in a lineup. If you’re Hyundai, well, you’ve just summoned a product army.

Mazda needs a new crossover. There’s simply too many sales going unrealized in the United States, where the brand is on track to record a second yearly sales decline. Knowing there’s only one surefire way to boost volume these days, Mazda is placing its hopes on a new crossover made for America, made in America, that somehow won’t gobble up sales of its existing utility lineup.

Speaking to Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai claims the new model could become the brand’s U.S. best-seller. For his company’s sake, let’s hope Kogai’s prediction holds more water than his one-time vision for 400,000 annual U.S. sales. The brand’s sales peaked at 319,184 units in 2015, falling under 300,000 in 2016.

Mazda’s mystery vehicle will emerge from a joint Mazda-Toyota factory in a still-unknown locale in 2021. All of Mazda’s allotted plant capacity will go towards the new vehicle. That’s a potential for 150,000 annual units, assuming the crossover finds buyers.

“We have big expectations,” Kogai said of the planned model. “This is our declaration that we are going to grow our business in the U.S.”

Mazda makes a habit of tailoring models towards certain markets. The CX-4 is built for China. The not-quite-right-sized CX-8 is for Japan’s eyes only. Whatever new crossover emerges from the new joint facility will be designed not just to woo U.S. buyers, but to prevent it from eating into the sales of the CX-3, CX-5, or CX-9. A tall order.

“We are actually going to introduce a totally new and different type of SUV,” Kogai said. “R&D is coordinating with our North American operations on that right now.”

It’s expected that, given the segment’s thirst for larger vehicles of this type, the new crossover will slot between the CX-5 and CX-9. Maybe we’ll even see a return of the CX-7 nameplate. Still, the space between the brand’s two larger crossovers isn’t a vast, endless plain. Many consider the CX-9 a little on the small side for three-row duty. How does Mazda split the difference?

One possibility lies in growing the next-generation CX-9, thus increasing the size gap. That model is due for a full redesign in 2022.

Whatever form the lineup takes, Mazda’s buyers are increasingly turning away from passenger cars. During the first half of the year, crossovers accounted for 53 percent of the brand’s U.S. sales. Through October, that tally rose to 57 percent. Mazda would like to bring it up to 60 percent.

As it awaits a new factory and vehicle, Mazda’s goals amount to greater profitability, fewer incentives, and the rollout of a new platform and the company’s Skyactiv-X gas compression ignition engine. A fully redesigned Mazda 3 arrives for the 2019 model year.

[Image: Mazda]

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12 Comments on “Americans Are Gonna Love Our New Crossover, Mazda Claims...”

  • avatar

    Mazda and Toyota both need a larger 3 row to better compete with Explorer, Traverse, Pilot, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Actually, the Explorer is pretty cramped compared to the Pilot, Atlas and Traverse. The D4 platform’s poor space optimization means it’s closer to a 5+2 extended-mid sized crossover than a full-sized one. The new GMC Acadia is a good competitor in terms of usable interior volume.

  • avatar

    I have been pretty much been a big Mazda fan most of my adulthood. I own a 08 CX9. I love the vehicle and am very forthcoming about its shortcomings and its positives.
    One thing I have said about the one that I own and the new one is that it should have been Traverse sized when it was redesigned. This would allow for a Edge sized 5 passenger vehicle and also for the CX5 to gain some back seat space as well. I hope this is route they take.

  • avatar

    If you are going to bill a vehicle as three row crossover, it should be sizeable enough for adults in third row. The cx-9 is six inches away from greatness.

    Anyway, I know it will probably never happen, but why not bring the 6 wagon over with crossover wagon mods. Little cladding, inch or two of ground clearance….instant hit! I’m sure it’s probably already federalized or darn near it, think it is sold as AWD already in other markets. Seriously Mazda, this is the best looking non mx5/Miata vehicle you sell. Get it over here.

    I’d buy it in a heartbeat…..loaded. Maybe time to consider given the sales slide, couldn’t hurt.

    • 0 avatar

      This would actually be my guess too… Subaru merged with Toyota for access to larger factories to build the bigger Outback they always wanted… why not Mazda? Wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of this factory’s output is stamping Outback nameplates on their butts. That would be safe money.

      Our family cars have been a 626 and Mazda3… would love to get another Mazda, but we have a big dog now who just barely fits in the hatch, and forget any camping gear. We’re seriously looking at the Golf Sportwagen now. Don’t even care about the Alltrack version.

      But it looks like Mazda wants to go after the high-end market instead of volume… so good luck with that.

    • 0 avatar

      I just opened Mazda’s UK site and wow, the current Mazda 6 Tourer is a very nice looking car. I’d consider a Mazda if they sold that over here.

      I don’t like the CX-5 and the CX-3 is way too small but a 6 wagon would be a great replacement for my Sportwagen.

  • avatar

    Mazda, please bring back the CX-7. Give it a back seat that can accomodate a rear facing infant seat behind my 5′ 11″ wife and we will have a deal. Compact crossovers are just too effing small and I want nothing to do with a 3 row. Our MKX is just about perfect.

  • avatar

    I’ll be following this with interest.

    I’m soon to downsize from two to one vehicles – an Element and a Fit to what I thought would be a CRV. But this could change things…

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