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Next Mazda CX-9 to stay high-end

Cap: The current-generation CX-9 sits in 10th spot for sales in the large SUV segment, with 3073 units shifted to the end of November.

Second-gen Mazda CX-9 in development with likely launch in 2016

4 Dec 2014

MAZDA’S next-generation CX-9 will not become a top seller in the busy large-SUV segment, with the company predicting it will maintain its current positioning as a more premium offering with a focus on specification rather than keen pricing.

The seven-seater SUV, which arrived in late 2007 before undergoing a facelift in late 2012, is due to be replaced soon, with Mazda Australia confirming that a replacement is currently “in development”.

While the Japanese car-maker said timing was yet to be discussed, it was not a part of the 2015 model launch calendar that it revealed to Australian media this week, suggesting a 2016 debut.

The CX-9 is currently in 10th spot in the crowded large-SUV under $70,000 segment, with its year-to-date sales haul of 3073 units well below that of rivals including the top-selling Jeep Grand Cherokee (15,541), Toyota Prado (14,734) and Kluger (10,114).

In fact the CX-9 also trails the locally built Ford Territory (9045), Hyundai Santa Fe (6088) and the Nissan Pathfinder (4688).

In Australia, Mazda’s big SUV kicks off from a slightly higher entry price point than many of its competitors, with the base two-wheel drive Classic starting at $44,525, plus on-road costs.

Hyundai’s base petrol Santa Fe starts at $38,490, the Pathfinder 2WD ST is $39,990, Ford’s Territory now opens from $36,990 for the 2WD TX. Jeep’s 2WD Grand Cherokee Laredo, however, is more closely aligned at $44,000.

When asked at an end-of-year media event in Melbourne whether Mazda would lower the entry price for the next-generation CX-9 to help boost sales, Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak said the company always took notice of specification levels of rivals, but did not commit to a price drop.

“I guess when you go through the business case for any of those cars, you always look at what is available from a product specification (perspective),” he said.

“You then look at the intent of the vehicle. Is it going to be seen as a flagship, is it going to be bread and butter, what is it going to be?“We certainly go through all that kind of stuff, we are doing that at the moment so we will wait and see. I can’t see CX-9 changing radically from its current position.” In an earlier presentation, Mr Doak said Mazda Australia was comfortable with the sales of the CX-9, particular at this point in its life-cycle.

“It’s towards the back half of its life so we are pretty content with where it is sitting at the moment.” While he did not give anything away about the new model Mr Doak did remark that the second-gen family wagon would mark an improvement on the current model.

“The new one’s even better,” he said.

The next-gen model is all but certain to lose weight and the thirsty Ford-based V6 engine that powers the current model in favour of a turbocharged version of the naturally aspirated four-cylinder SkyActiv G petrol engine that powers the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5.

Rumours also suggest that Mazda might change the name of the CX-9, resurrecting the CX-7 moniker to reflect its seven-seat configuration.

The CX-9 may be a while away from an Australian debut, but a number of other new models or updates will roll into local Mazda dealerships in the next 12 months.

First up will be the facelifted Mazda6 mid-sizer and CX-5 SUV in the first quarter of next year, fresh from their international debut at the Los Angeles motor show last month.

The all-important Mazda2-based CX-3 crossover will take on the Holden Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and the like when it lobs in Autumn.

Towards the end of the year, the fourth-generation MX-5 Roadster arrives, while a facelift for the BT-50 ute workhorse is also set for local launch at the end of 2015.

What’s coming from Mazda:Mazda6 facelift Q1, 2015
CX-5 facelift Q1, 2015
CX-3 Autumn, 2015
BT-50 facelift late 2015
MX-5 late 2015
CX-9 2016

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