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Mazda’s coupe-inspired SUV draws near

Coup-ed up: Mazda’s first foray into the coup-styled SUV segment resulted in the stylish CX-4, but the crossover was limited to only the Chinese market.

Two coupe-style SUV models desired by Mazda Australia boss

27 Jan 2017

MAZDA Australia could be the first mainstream brand to offer coupe-style SUVs based on the company’s new-generation vehicles, after managing director Martin Benders revealed they would be an important part of the brand’s vehicle range.

At least two swoopy-SUVs are being considered that follow the likes of the BMW X4 and X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLE Coupe models.

Speaking with GoAuto at the launch of the MX-5 RF last week, Mr Benders acknowledged that fastback-styled SUVs had become a hugely popular concept for premium brands and he believed it was inevitable the trend would filter down into more affordable segments.

“We see it in the premium market, those (coupe-style SUV) vehicles are working, so it’s definitely on our want list but Mazda has to fit it into their cycle plans,” he said.

“We think it’s important to have a couple of those models. It’s certainly something that we’re asking for, we’re saying (to Mazda in Japan) as SUVs get more popular you’re going to have to offer more variants to capture a bigger share of those buyers.” The Mazda Australia managing director described the phenomenon of the coupe-style SUV as a result of buyers looking for diversity of design with the conformity of a boxy high-riding wagon becomes an increasingly common sight on local roads.

“SUVs and that high seating position is something that people like on the road, and as there are more of them people want to stay at that height, but as there are more of them on the road of a more traditional shape, then you just get this natural demand for people wanting something different,” Mr Benders continued.

Mazda Australia anticipates the next-generation CX-5, due next month with carry-over 2.0- and 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engines and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder, will cement its dominance in the medium-SUV segment. Meanwhile the new CX-9 will have its first full year on sale in 2017.

Given the popularity of the current SUV breed, however, Mr Benders said that adding new variants such as a coupe-style SUV or a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine to the CX-5 (see separate story) would have to shuffle around both existing production capacity constraints and the brand’s engineering capabilities.

“Mazda is a fairly small brand on a global scale and they have to devote their resources to their best products,” he cautioned.

“At the moment, they still have growing global demand for CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9, so their first priority is getting the capacity right.

“The Hofu plant where Mazda3 and Mazda6 are made, they’ve just announced that CX-3 will go into that plant to free up capacity in the other plants where CX-5 and CX-9 are.

“They’ve got limited resources and now they need to step through it. Priorities are priorities.” Mazda has already launched the CX-4 coupe-style SUV for the Chinese market, but it has been developed on an older platform and was not tipped to be the brand’s first global entry to the sector that will likely be based on the new CX-5.

Of the China-only status of the CX-4, however, Mr Benders confessed: “It’s one that people are thinking about and saying we should probably take to a global product.”

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