2018 Mazda CX-8
Mazda in August revealed plans for a new plant to be constructed in the United States in partnership with Toyota.
Due to be operational in 2021, the plant will build Corollas for Toyota and an SUV for Mazda.
In an interview with Automotive News (subscription required), Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai said the new SUV is being designed specifically for the U.S. market and has the potential to be the brand’s best-seller.
Given the gaping hole in Mazda’s SUV lineup between the compact CX-5 and mid-size CX-9, a small SUV along the lines of the previous CX-7 seems the most likely fit. (The previous CX-7 was discontinued in 2012.)
The CX-8 slot is already taken by an SUV sold exclusively in Japan, and a CX-6 would likely be too similar to the CX-5. In his interview, Kogai said the new SUV won’t cannibalize sales of any of Mazda’s existing models. In fact, he said it will be something very different.
“We are actually going to introduce a totally new and different type of SUV,” he said. “R&D is coordinating with our North American operations on that right now.”
The vehicle is a key strategy for Mazda in boosting sales in the U.S., where the automaker has experienced a 2.4 percent decline in sales through October. Another key strategy is the introduction of technologically advanced vehicles. The automaker has already revealed a gasoline engine with diesel-like fuel economy, for example. The engine is due in 2019 in the next-generation Mazda 3. Around the same time we should also see Mazda introduce an electric car.