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Mazda still evaluating MX-30 for Australia

Base load: Mazda says it does not have a large customer base in Australia asking for an EV, so it is taking its time to evaluate the business case for the all-new MX-30.

MX-30 EV not a certain starter as Mazda Australia sticks to multi-solution mantra

29 Nov 2019

MAZDA Australia is refusing to commit to introducing the Japanese car-maker’s first mass-production electric vehicle, the MX-30, following the model’s unveiling at the Tokyo motor show in October, however managing director Vinesh Bhindi said a decision would be made next year.


In an interview with GoAuto in Melbourne this week, Mr Bhindi said he looked upon the MX-30 favourably but was not convinced that there was a business case for the upmarket all-electric compact crossover.


He also said that Mazda customers were not, in any great numbers, calling for an EV to be added to the Australian line-up.


“We are still evaluating the business opportunity with it, so at this stage we can’t confirm whether we will get it or not. It’s only a very small part of the market – 0.2 per cent so far this year,” he said.


“It’s got to be relevant to consumers.”


Asked to clarify that EVs were still not relevant to customers, Mr Bhindi said: “We would like to have it, we think, but we will take our time to evaluate the business case.”


And on the question of whether Mazda’s constituents might now expect the number-two brand in the market to at least offer an all-electric model in its showrooms, Mr Bhindi said its customers understood the company’s well-to-wheel argument that takes into account the vehicle’s entire lifecycle, from concept to ownership to disposal.


“There are always some customers who are interested, but in our case, when we talk to them about the well-to-wheel position that we have, an EV is not (the complete answer) in its current entire stage – from where energy is generated, how it’s generated, right to the end – it doesn’t make sense if that’s their interest to reduce emissions, for example, or be environmentally friendly.


“That’s where something like SkyActiv (combustion engine) technologies, and in the future SkyActiv-X (mild hybrid), probably makes more sense. So, no, we can’t say that we have a huge customer base who say, ‘Where’s an EV?’”


Mazda will introduce SkyActiv-X in 2020 with the Mazda3 small car and, later in the year, the all-new CX-30 small/medium SUV, with Mr Bhindi describing the new powertrain as a “major early step in our multi-solution approach to reducing vehicle emissions”.


“Make no mistake, Mazda’s laser-like focus and well-considered route to a sustainable future with cleaner vehicles is, we think, the most effective in the market,” he said.


“It takes into account realistic customer purchase habits, and provides real-world solutions rather than just focusing on headlines.


“Producing electric vehicles is not the ultimate objective, but reducing emissions is – and to do that effectively, we believe there must be a multi-solution approach, a right solution for each region taking into consideration the natural resources available in each of those regions and along with the consumer expectations.


“The adaptation of EV in Australia will be relatively slow and gradual, with challenges in regulation, legislation and more practical issues such as infrastructure, servicing and disposal … so to make an immediate short-term improvement to emissions, we have to focus on more than one solution and improve vehicles people are actually buying right now.”


Mr Bhindi said Mazda will transition more heavily to hybrid and EV technology “when there is no more to squeeze out of internal combustion engines” but conceded that the company does want to play a role in the establishment of EVs in Australia.


He said taxpayer-funded incentives to purchase electrified vehicles were less important than federal government action on generating more electricity from renewable energy sources.


“I don’t think the government needs to focus on incentives to purchase, but rather the generation of renewable supply levels – that the infrastructure is there, in partnership with energy companies, to get that to the market,” he said.


“The car industry and all the relevant related industries and business will drive innovation, but we’ve got to get all the other bits right.”

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