Americans Are Gonna Love Our New Crossover, Mazda Claims

americans are gonna love our new crossover mazda claims

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 s ummoned 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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  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Nov 25, 2017

    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.

  • Islander800 Islander800 on Nov 26, 2017

    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...

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.
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