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Sub-$40k price target for new Mazda MX-5

Going down: Mazda is hoping to trim the price of entry to its Mazda MX-5 range to less than $40,000 when the fourth-generation arrives next year.

Latest MX-5 to get cheaper entry model as Mazda looks to roll out multiple variants

4 Sep 2014

MAZDA Australia is planning to lure young buyers back into the MX-5 fold by offering a cut-price variant under $40,000 when the new fourth-generation of the iconic Japanese roadster arrives in Australian showrooms in mid 2015.

This would represent a cut of more than $7000 over the current most affordable MX-5 in the range, the $47,280 Roadster Coupe, which Mazda says is largely bought by older customers.

In the new, broader MX-5 range envisioned by Mazda Australia, the cheaper variant is expected to get a smaller engine – thought to be the new 1.5-litre SkyActiv four-cylinder from the new Mazda2 – as well as a fabric folding roof, smaller 16-inch alloy wheels and other low-cost features to keep the price down.

But the company says the older audience will not be ignored, with up-spec models with a bigger engine – possibly a modified version of the 2.0-litre SkyActiv normally aspirated four-cylinder from the Mazda3 – and bigger 17-inch alloy wheels, and more sumptuous interior to be included in an expanded range this time around.

While MX-5s shown at today's global reveal at Monterey, California, all came with soft-tops, GoAuto is assured that a folding hardtop is in the works for a possible release at a later date.

Speaking at the Monterey event, Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders said Australian pricing for the new range had not yet been set, and would depend on specification.

“But we should be able to do under $40,000,” he said.

Mr Benders said that the original MX-5 launched in 1989 had a strong following from both young and older buyers, but over time, the car became more sophisticated and thus more expensive, effectively cutting younger buyers out of the mix.

“Now virtually no young buyers are buying the car,” he said.

Mr Benders said a more affordable variant would attract a younger clientele back to the model.

“If we can price it right and get the right goodies in it, it will go down well,” he said.

Mr Benders said Mazda would not walk away from older buyers, saying: “There will be high-spec variants.”

These are likely to include a model with a new-look folding hardtop that Mr Benders described as unique.

He said Mazda was “trying to do something new” with the new folding hard-top, adding: “It should be great if it comes off.”

Mazda insiders have poured cold water on American reports of a solid-roof coupe version, saying a concept shown by Mazda met little enthusiasm.

Although a $40k MX-5 would mean a price premium over coupe competitors such as the $29,990 (plus on-road costs) Toyota 86, and most likely also have less power than the 147kW Toyota sports coupe and its Subaru BRZ twin, Mazda will depend on the appeal of its open-top style and refinement to keep the sales churning.

Powertrains are yet to be confirmed by Mazda, which confined today's major event to styling, dimension and interior layout details.

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