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Mazda wants to stop buyers going to BMW, Audi with new CX-60 luxury SUV


Dealers will have a higher chance of retaining top-shelf CX-5 customers who have their eye set on that Volvo XC60, Mazda believes

The decision to bring its new CX-60 midsize luxury SUV to Australia was a simple one for Mazda, according to the brand’s local senior executives. It’s all about giving existing customers an upgrade path that doesn’t require leaving the dealership.

Priced from $59,800 to $85,500, the incoming 2023 Mazda CX-60 will be positioned as a competitor to familiar luxury crossover badges, including the Audi Q5 (from $67K), the BMW X3 (from $77K), and the Volvo XC60 (from $73K).

The CX-60 slots in above the familiar CX-5 in Mazda’s range as a more premium SUV

Riding on a new platform, based around six-cylinder engines, and with a higher level of interior appointment, it’s no surprise that the CX-60 is pricier than Mazda’s well-known CX-5 midsize SUV that costs anywhere from $32,390 to $53,880 (list) in Australia.

CX-60 will help address customer outflow to luxury SUV brands

In recent years, high-specification versions of the Mazda CX-5 have been lauded by critics, including Chasing Cars, for their relatively plush cabin fit-out and mature dynamics – but the call of a luxury-brand vehicle remains extremely desirable to buyers.

Cutting the outflow of Mazda buyers from high-spec versions of, particularly, the CX-5 is a major advantage of taking on the new CX-60, Mazda Australia director of marketing Alastair Doak told Chasing Cars.

“We have a group of buyers who will move through our range, get to a top-of-the-range CX-5, and we don’t really have much to offer them,” Doak explained.

With its luxury-grade cabin, Mazda hopes the CX-60 will be a match for BMW and Audi product

“Yes, we have the CX-8 and CX-9, but Australians are a pretty practical bunch, and really – they buy those [larger SUVs] because they need a three-row.

“So at the moment [some of] these customers say that they will stay in a CX-5, but a lot of them [when] wealth increases, they want something else.

“So there is a proportion that we lose, that outflow to other brands, unfortunately – but the good news is that with this product we will be able to offer them, to have a conversation with them to say, hey, we actually have a next step for you,” Doak said.

Bigger engines and more spec than rivals at lower cost should give the CX-60 an edge

The new CX-60 lineup pitches in at a sharper price than its European luxury rivals while offering larger and more sophisticated engines at lower cost – thanks to a push to secure the best engines for our market. Its interior features top-grade nappa leathers, unusual wood trims, intricate stitching, and even higher build quality.

The CX-60 is available with two six-cylinder engines, in petrol and diesel flavours, plus a plug-in hybrid option.

Mazda aiming to outsell BMW, Audi and Volvo SUV rivals

Today’s Mazda CX-5 competes in one of Australia’s most popular segments – the mainstream family midsize SUV – where it has a circa-16 percent market share with Mazda selling about 30,000 units per year.

By contrast, the luxury midsize SUV segment is only worth about 38,000 units total each year, meaning the CX-60 will be a more marginal player than the CX-5.

In the CX-60’s sights: the BMW X3

Still, Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi was bullish that the CX-60 could become a very significant part of that market, hinting that the company is targeting “about 500 [CX-60 sales] per month on average, but maybe higher during the early days.”

If the CX-60 managed to secure that run rate of 6000 units per year, it would outsell the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 while being competitive with the Tesla Model Y electric midsizer.

CX-60 marketing to focus on features rather than luxury push

Acknowledging that the shift to offering a premium-priced midsize SUV – while retaining the mainstream CX-5 – increases additional complexity to the Mazda range, Doak said teaching existing customers about the CX-60 would be a focus at first.

“We’ll really talk to them with an owner program in the short term, and really make sure that they understand what the CX-60 is all about. We think that will be a pretty good place to start in terms of getting cars on the road – that road presence is always important,” he said.

Mazda CX60 Azami SP 2023 interior tan leather
Mazda’s CX-60 marketing is expected to allow the car’s features to “speak for themselves”

The existing-customer campaign will be supplemented by extensive marketing in mainstream media, physical spaces and online – though marketing man Doak hinted that Mazda’s CX-60 ads won’t push the “luxury” line, instead preferring to let the car’s attributes speak for themselves.

“It’s about showing, not telling. … Our advertising has moved more into that kind of polished, more premium look. We will continue to build on that. I think if you have to tell people that you’re more premium, then you are probably not.”

The CX-60 is the first of a trailblazing line of more luxurious models that Mazda will bring to Australia. The marque has already confirmed it will add a new flagship CX-90 three-row SUV to its lineup, and the brand is working on a range of EVs for launch in the second half of the decade.