Mazda hinted at its luxury ambitions at the launch of the new Mazda3. With big plans by 2025 for an RWD platform and inline-6-cylinder engines, it’s going to happen.
Mazda has long held aspirations of moving upscale, going as far back as the 80s and 90s when Amati (Toyota’s Lexus and Honda’s Acura) almost saw the light of day. In hindsight, pulling the plug on the program when they did was the right thing to do. They are back at it and the all-new Mazda3 is a hint of what’s to come.
It was Jalopnik that happened upon an investor presentation that clearly enumerates future plans for not only new architectures and powertrains but that the new-generation lineup of vehicles will be priced well above that of the current portfolio.
The latest collection of concepts, the RX Vision, Vision Coupe and the Shinari from nearly a decade ago, points to more than your regular affordable Mazda product. To go along with what promises to be an attractive and elegant series of new cars and SUVs, Mazda is preparing a new large architecture that will support SkyActiv-X and SkyActiv-D straight-6-cylinder engines longitudinally for RWD and AWD applications. Also part of the plan will be 48-volt mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies.
At both new 2019 Mazda3 launch events, Mazda brought up “Premium” as a direction they are actively undertaking. The new 3 certainly is a premium compact car but there’s a big difference between build quality, extra technology and features and selling luxury vehicles in a considerably higher bracket.
To be quite honest, we are skeptical and not quite convinced that Mazda will succeed as a premium brand. It is true that $50,000 Mazda CX-9 Signature SUVs are selling well however a sleek AWD 4-door sedan may not find many takers with a $50k+ price tag no matter the specs. The next generation Mazda6 will surely be the next Mazda product to go Premium as the plan to implement a portion of these changes begins in 2020.
The presentation also addresses partnerships where Toyota comes up on more than one occasion. Could it be that Mazda will supply Toyota with the next generation Supra’s straight-6 engine?
The new generation of Mazda products, introduced with the new Mazda3, will be launched fully up until 2025.