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Future models - Mazda - CX-3

Tokyo show: Mazda CX-3 sidelined – for now

Long wait: Mazda’s need to concentrate on other models such as the new Mazda3 means development of a soft-roader under its strong-selling CX-5 (shown here) is at least a couple of years away.

Product rollout pushes Mazda’s new compact SUV to the end of the queue

Mazda logo21 Nov 2013

By BARRY PARK

MAZDA has pushed its compact CX-3 crossover to the back of its current development cycle, meaning it could be around three years before the Japanese car-maker has a toe in one of Australia’s fastest-growing segments.

Speculation has been rife that Mazda would launch a version of the CX-3 in 2014, providing a rival for the likes of the Subaru XV, Hyundai i30, Nissan Juke, Holden Trax and Ford EcoSport.

However, according to Mazda’s global managing executive officer in charge of business strategy, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, the car-maker has higher priorities.

“We needed time to develop each individual product starting with the CX-5, therefore we just put the cycle of the CX-3 in the last stage compared to other vehicles,” Mr Fujiwara said from the Tokyo motor show.

“Especially starting from next year and onward, we have a very important model called the Mazda2,” he said.

Mazda has focused on its key volume-selling cars including the CX-5 small SUV, an all-new Mazda3 small hatch and sedan range, and will introduce the all-new Mazda2 light car next year.

A Mazda insider told GoAuto that the company had to concentrate on its bread-and-butter line-up before focusing on other models, including the much anticipated Mazda3 MPS, which is also earmarked as a low priority for the brand, despite its halo effect on the rest of the small car line-up.

The new CX-3 is expected to share the underpinnings of the Mazda2, which is due to hit the motor show circuit in the first half of next year wearing the SkyActiv badge denoting a suite of Mazda’s latest fuel-efficient technologies.

In addition to the Mazda3 due on sale in Australia early next year, the Kodo-influenced Mazda2 will be one of five key new models from the Japanese car-maker between now and 2015.

Others include a new CX-9 due next year – potentially using a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that could work its way under the Mazda3 MPS – and the rear-wheel-drive MX-5 shared with Alfa Romeo and due in 2015.

The CX-3 is likely to be at the tail end of this new-model rollout, but ahead of other highly anticipated models such as a spin-off of the MX-5 platform that potentially rebirths the RX name and places a rotary engine under the bonnet – before the engine’s 50th anniversary in 2017.

A potential new super-compact city car is also believed to be on the cards.

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