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Future models - Mazda - CX-3

CX-5 success sets scene for ‘CX-3’

2 for 2: After the success of the CX-5, Mazda is looking at building a smaller SUV that could be based on the Mazda2 light car (left).

Small SUV likely as one of six future vehicles in Mazda’s busy new-model onslaught

Mazda logo24 Oct 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

MAZDA is believed to be fast-tracking a sub-CX-5 small SUV for release within three years, having experienced three times the predicted demand for the CX-5 in markets including Russia and North America.

Long speculated to be the ‘CX-3’, the baby crossover is expected to share an all-new SkyActiv architecture with the next Mazda2 light car due in 2014.

Mazda president and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi told journalists in Sydney last week that the company’s success with the CX-5 means it is “looking at every opportunity”.

Both SUV and light car are part of six secret new model releases promised over the next 36 months, as the Japanese company switches its entire passenger vehicle range to the SkyActiv chassis and drivetrain combination that debuted in the CX-5 last March.

Having just unveiled the new 6 mid-sizer, other Mazdas in the pipeline include the vitally important all-new 3 small car, slated for a late 2013 reveal.

As grainy images of what appears to be the new Mazda3 emerging from Europe suggest, the next-generation hatch and sedan represent a bold departure from the current model, with the new Kodo design language at its most striking so far.

22 center imageFrom top: Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi 2013 Mazda CX-9, MX-5.

Not far behind that will be the long-awaited fourth-generation MX-5, co-developed with Alfa Romeo.

Mr Yamanouchi confirmed the iconic roadster will be at least 100kg lighter than the current car, which tips the scales from 1129kg in soft-top guise.

Also due to be unveiled in 2014, Alfa Romeo’s version is expected to have a completely different body and interior, as well as unique engine options, even though Mazda will build both convertibles on the same production line in Hiroshima.

Whether a rotary powered coupe in the vein of the original RX-7 will also appear is unknown.

However, the Mazda boss did suggest that the Wankel engine project is thriving in the company’s research and development department, as both a high-performance sports-car motivator and a range-extender for future EV and petrol-electric hybrid applications.

Following on from that should be a replacement for the Mazda5/Premacy people mover not sold in Australia, which is an important model for Mazda in Japan and Europe, where it competes with the big-selling Renault Scenic, Opel Zafira, and Ford C-Max.

Of more relevance for Australians is how the company will eventually replace the CX-9.

Due in about 2015 and expected share architecture with the new Mazda6, one school of thought has a slightly smaller medium-sized SUV adopting the CX-7 nameplate to reflect the number of seats it offers, while another suggests an even larger crossover to appease North American tastes.

Whichever way Mazda goes, it is unlikely to develop two different vehicles this time around.

Beyond that, for the latter half of this decade at the very earliest, Mazda is studying a ‘Mazda1’ city car that will either appeal to fashion-conscious Westerners as a premium low-emissions city car like Volkswagen’s Up or go down the emerging market route by providing affordable transportation.

Mazda’s global general manager for sales and marketing Yasuhiro Aoyama told GoAuto last week that a partner such as Ford would be required in order to make the level of investment in such a vehicle sustainable.

Before any of that happens, Mazda has to start making money again, so concentrating on core products is the top priority.

What's coming for Mazda:
CX-9 facelift December
Mazda6 December
Mazda3 Late 2013
Mazda2 2014
Premacy/Mazda5 2014 (not Australia)
MX-5 Late 2014
MX-5 based 'RX-7' coupe 2015
CX-3 2015
CX-7/CX-9 replacement 2015

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