Mazda boosts CX-5 production

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MAZDA will boost annual production of its new CX-5 compact SUV by 20 per cent from March next year to keep up with higher than expected demand from around the world – including Australia.

The Japanese car-maker announced today it would increase CX-5 production in Japan to 240,000 units per year – up from 200,000.

Mazda has already increased its global sales target for the current fiscal year (ending on March 31, 2013) from 160,000 to 190,000.

The production increase will be achieved by bringing forward the planned upgrade of one of its Ujina plants in Japan, allowing a second facility to assemble the SkyActiv chassis and powertrains used in the CX-5.

Worldwide demand for the new model is said to be far ahead of initial estimates, with Japanese orders doubling the company’s original target and sales in Russia – which Mazda calls its largest market in Europe – close to surpassing annual targets, six months ahead of schedule.

The story is no different in Australia, with VFACTS sales figures released today showing the CX-5 was the top-selling SUV on the market in June with 1955 deliveries for the month, beating a host of rivals from the small, medium and large segments.

Since its debut in Australia at the end of February this year, the CX-5 has consistently been among the top-selling SUVs in the country, edging out key rivals such as the Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester in each of the last three months.

While sales in these three months outstripped the stated target of 1000 sales a month, Mazda Australia media communications specialist Emma Karkar told GoAuto that "with constant supply, we are meeting our customer orders".

Ms Karkar did confirm, however, that there was currently a short waiting list on the CX-5.

Mazda has also announced it will double the production capacity of its Hiroshima engine plant, where it produces its new-generation SkyActiv petrol and diesel engines, to 800,000 units annually from October this year.

The company said the boost was in response to strong global demand for its new powertrain family, which is sold in Australia in the Mazda3 and CX-5, and offered overseas in the Mazda2 light car.

The new range will also feature in the next-generation ‘6’ – previewed by the slinky and almost production-ready Takeri concept at last year’s Tokyo motor show – which is set to debut by the end of this year.

By 2016, Mazda projects it will sell 1.7 million units globally, 80 per cent of which are expected to feature the new-generation SkyActiv engines, transmissions, chassis and bodies.

Mazda has continued to invest in its Japanese production facilities despite posting a massive 108 billion yen ($A1.29 billion) loss for the last Japanese financial year, announced in April this year.

The company announced in May it will allow Alfa Romeo to base its next-generation Alfa Spider on the architecture from the next MX-5 roadster, with Alfa’s parent company Fiat and Mazda confirming their interest in further co-operation in Europe.