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CX-3 could rule baby crossover segment: Mazda

Small package, big threat: Mazda has its sights set on the Australian compact crossover crown with the CX-3.

Mazda's compact SUV foray could muscle out popular rivals with all-new CX-3

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Mazda logo10 Dec 2014

MAZDA'S all-new addition to Australia's growing compact SUV range has not yet launched anywhere in the world, but already the Japanese car-maker is predicting the CX-3 could smash its way to the top of the pile when it arrives here next year.

The company says extensive market research has prompted a more positive response than for any model before it, which could be an indication that the little crossover is destined for big things despite being a relative latecomer to the segment.

When it arrives on Australian turf in the second quarter of 2015 the Mazda CX-3 will go head to head with popular offerings from Mitsubishi, Nissan and Ford, but the segment's top spot could be under threat, says Mazda.

Speaking at the global first drive of Mazda's CX-3 crossover, public relations senior manager Steve Maciver said despite established players getting a head start in the market, Mazda's offering has the potential to wipe the table.

“We reckon that CX-3 has got the potential to shoot for leadership in the segment,” he said. “The feedback on the car has been very, very strong.”

Pricing will be critical to the new car's success and while that figure is still being finalised for Australia, it is likely the CX-3 will sit mid-market alongside the Ford EcoSport which is priced from $20,790 before on-road costs, the $22,090 Nissan Juke and the Holden Trax from $23,990.

In addition to crucial pricing, Mr Maciver suggested keeping up with high demand could be the new model's greatest challenge.

“We haven't settled a price for the car yet,” said Mr Maciver. “We know where we want it to be and we are still working through that with MMC (Mazda Motor Corporation), but also supply is going to be key to this as well. We haven't quite seen a reaction to a car like this anywhere with any Mazda before.

“We want to take this car and we can sell good volumes and when that happens obviously there is a limit to how many we can produce so that's already putting pressure on getting what we want.

“We are never, from a visual price point, the cheapest and that's not what we are about, we want to offer a good combination of value and performance.

“All things being perfect, CX-3 has the potential to shoot for segment leadership.”

Despite the good forecast reception, Mr Maciver said he does not see the little car threatening the brand's CX-5 mid-sized SUV and Mazda3 small hatch current top-sellers, but could find its spot in the range at third place.

“It won't be our biggest-selling car,” he said. “It's not going to do Mazda3 numbers and it's not going to do CX-5 numbers either.

“Will it outsell Mazda2, BT-50? Yes it's got the potential to do that, but again ultimately customers will decide.”

The Australian CX-3 range and variant specifications are still under consideration but Mr Maciver said the company expects the lower-end two-wheel drive petrol version combined with automatic transmission to be the favourite.

“If you look at sales in the segment petrol is always outselling diesel and I don't think we are going to change that dramatically. Ultimately buyers in that segment more often than not are looking for an auto rather than a manual – again we are not going to change that dramatically with this car. Front-wheel drive will probably be the biggest seller.”

The CX-3 will arrive in Australia immediately after its official Japanese launch in the second quarter of next year and will be available with a combination of petrol or diesel engine, two or four-wheel drive, and a choice of either manual or automatic transmissions.

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