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CX-5 catching 3 as Mazda’s global bestseller

Fast lane: Mazda's popular 3 is still the company's top-selling model but a growing trend in SUVs could see the CX-5 overtake.

Mazda's CX-5 mid-sized SUV closes in on long-time bread and butter small car

Mazda logo21 Nov 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in LOS ANGELES

MAZDA’S popular CX-5 is selling at almost twice the rate as originally forecast, with the newly facelifted model expected to hit the 400,000-unit mark worldwide in the near future.

Unveiled at this week’s LA Auto Show, the revised compact SUV might even exceed the Mazda3 small car that’s on the way to the half-million milestone as the company’s global number one.

Speaking at the LA Show, Mazda Motor Corporation’s global sales and marketing managing executive officer, Masahiro Moro, said shifts in consumer buying habits worldwide make the CX-5’s rise to number one virtually inevitable.

“SUVs will become much bigger volume for us – at least I hope so,” he said. “If you look at the industry, in almost all countries demand has shifted from a conventional C-car into SUV, C/D car into SUV, and maybe in the future B-car into SUV. So this is a very obvious trend.

“The CX-5, when we launched, its original global sales projection was 160,000 units. But immediately we went over 200,000 (during 2012), and then it became 300,000 (in 2013), and this year we are forecasting 350,000 sales worldwide.

“The Mazda3 is our bestseller… but in five years I am sure it will be CX-5. We are selling over 400,000 units of Mazda3 worldwide, but the CX-5 is catching up quickly.” However Mr Moro was quick to point out that there will be continued investment and improvements to the Mazda3 to maintain its appeal, which should mitigate sales cannibalisation between the two company bestsellers.

“My intention is to keep Mazda3 at the levels above 400,000 units worldwide even with the CX-5 sales going up,” he revealed. “But my hope is that the CX-5 will then exceed that (figure too).

“We will keep Mazda3 going (strong). We now have a Mexican plant, where we produce it for North America, Latin America and Europe. So we are going to invest proper marketing resources to keep the Mazda3 growing.

At 18,237 units to the end of October, Australian CX-5 sales have increased 8.2 per cent year-on-year to lead its (stagnant) medium SUV segment with a healthy 20 per cent share it is now some 3300 units ahead of the second-placed Toyota RAV4 despite the current version being one of the oldest of the mob.

Mazda3 sales at 36,011 units are also up year-on-year, by four per cent in a class that is down five per cent, that’s at half the rate that of the CX-5’s efforts. It also trails the Toyota Corolla for the number one car in Australia, albeit by just 900 units.

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