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Mainstream Mazdas like the CX-5 to continue as CX-60 leads premium push

Daniel Gardner

Mazda has confirmed that an influx of more premium, next-generation SUV models led by the CX-60 midsize SUV will not necessarily mark the end of its equivalent mainstream offering such as the CX-5, with older and esoteric vehicles safe as long as they are available, it says.

The Japanese manufacturer has already confirmed three new SUV models will roll out in the local market over the coming months and years, including the CX-60, CX-80 and CX-90, but the arrival of the all-new trio does not spell the end of any given relative.

2023 Mazda CX-60 static with trees
Mazda’s next-generation premium products like the CX-60 doesn’t automatically mark the end of any existing options

Speaking to Chasing Cars, Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi confirmed that the company had no plans to discontinue any of its models in coincidence with new metal, and its strategy was to offer anything that’s available.

“We can only do it if the factory makes it but that’s why we have confirmed (CX-) 60, 80 and 90 and 8 will coexist, because we have that confidence that they are technologically different, but also purely from a size point of view.”

The continuation of the CX-8 large SUV, for one example, is not so hard to understand as it still accounts for reasonable sales and more than 1500 registrations to the end of April 2023, despite its similarity to stablemate CX-9.

2021 Mazda CX30 Exterior Rear Silver
Both the CX-3 and the more premium CX-30 (pictured) have found a place in the market together

As another example, if the success of the CX-3 and CX-30 simultaneous sales can be replicated, the cohabitation of CX-8 and CX-80 will be a success.

However, the business case becomes harder to understand for ageing models such as the Mazda 6, which only has 623 sales to its name in the same period. Nonetheless, Bhindi ensured that no model in the Mazda family would be culled simply due to a number in a spreadsheet.

“We’ve demonstrated that we offer niche products and are able to do it,” he said. “There’s no particular number where you’d say below that it doesn’t make sense. If it’s available then why not?

“Our local strategy is if Mazda Corporation is manufacturing a particular model and we can get it, offering choice is paramount.”

The defining factor for Mazda’s local line-up therefore becomes not what Mazda Australia wants but what the factory continues to produce.

2021 Mazda CX-9 front 3/4 static
The CX-9 seems to be the exception, with the aging model being retired as the CX-90 enters the market

The fate of the CX-9 has already been sealed and it would seem unlikely that shrinking numbers of models that share the same platform will stack up for long-term production. The same applies for the Mazda 6 sedan and wagon as global numbers for the body types dwindle in favour of SUVs.

With the arrival of three more SUVs, the local range will swell to nine (or eight when the CX-9 bows out) and a total of 13 including utes and passenger models.

This, says Bhindi, does not mean the family needs to stop growing and used the introduction of the CX-8 as an example of how the brand was capable of introducing more models regardless of how similar they may appear.

“There was a learning having CX-8 and CX-9 on showroom floors where customers came in and would say CX-9 is too big but I still want a seven seater. A small difference in size was enough for someone to say you’ve catered perfectly for me.

“That’s where the confidence continued to grow.”

Mazda CX-90 prototype 2023 driving rear
The Mazda CX-90 will soon go on sale in Australia

Representing one of the largest markets for Mazda globally certainly doesn’t harm the local company’s prospects when vying for new products and Bhindi pointed out that Australia was the only large Mazda market in the world that offers both CX-8 and CX-9 in parallel.

“Australia in an ‘outlier’ in how many lines and choice it offers.”

The company is not willing to offer a hint as to what may be next for local introduction but the strategy to offer more choice particularly in the SUV realm is still front and centre in a bid to bolster its premium status and products.

Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak concluded by reiterating the company’s focus on crossovers and SUVs.

“The market is SUV, so the more choice you’ve got the better and we’ve always been about choice with our products”.