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Mazda Plans New Crossover for Overhauled US Sales

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Mazda is having a bit of a sales problem—although four years ago, the CEO Masamichi Kogai set forth a goal of annual US sales of 400,000 units by now, the automaker sold just under 300,000 vehicles in 2016, and continued a sales decline this year as sales of most of its models dropped.

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So, what can an automaker do to prop up drooping sales in this day and age?

Make crossovers. Lots and lots of crossovers.

With that in mind, Kogai in a recent interview with Automotive News said that the brand would be slotting in another crossover into the gap between the brand’s highest-selling CX-5 and CX-9, hopefully without taking sales from any of the brand’s other models.

Kogai said that the brand had high hopes for the new vehicle, which will be produced starting in 2021 at the as-yet still pending Mazda-Toyota joint plant, dedicating the entire 150,000-unit-planned capacity. That’s even more than Mazda’s current production for its top seller, the CX-5, which only reached 112,235 units in 2016.

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The new SUV, slotting into the space previously occupied by the CX-7, is to be a unique model specifically designed for the US market. Kogai said, “We are actually going to introduce a totally new and different type of SUV. R&D is coordinating with our North American operations on that right now.”

Before the new crossover arrives, though, Mazda plans to release a brace of new technologies and overhaul its dealer network. The new technologies include the mild hybrid, electric, and SKYACTIV-X engines set to arrive in 2019, along with the new design language and vehicle platform.

News Source: Automotive News (subscription required)