Mazda execs point to CX-3 reality

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Mazda's senior execs say CX-3 sub-compact SUV is now under serious consideration

Mazda's President and senior sales and marketing execs have confirmed the beleaguered Japanese brand is seriously considering entering the light SUV marketplace.

During a private media dinner on the eve of today's opening of the 2012 Australian International Motor Show, Mazda CEO and Chairman, Takashi Yamanouchi and global sales and marketing execs spoke freely about the prospects of a smaller sibling to the CX-5 making it to production.

The so-called CX-3 has been the subject of significant speculation. Now burgeoning sales of the CX-5 worldwide and Mazda's commitment to parlay its own SKYACTIV platform technology into a homegrown replacement for Mazda2, make the mini SUV all but a done deal.

"We are studying [CX-3] as a global opportunity," General Manager Global Sales and Marketing, Yasuhiro Aoyama told

"We are putting more emphasis on the potential of emerging markets. This [CX-3] is a product with that global potential. We need to be preparing for our new global B-car [Mazda 2] and this [CX-3] has to be considered at the same time," Aoyama-san revealed.

Aoyama-san says emerging markets hold the best potential return for Mazda – both in terms of geography and product segments. A CX-3 would be appealing in both aspects,

"Emerging markets give us more potential. In the past we have placed too much emphasis on developed countries. We need to put that in balance."

But Aoyama-san stresses new markets will be targeted without diluting Mazda's brand DNA. And that new products must be true to the company's 'Zoom Zoom' mantra.

"We still consider our basic DNA to be 'Zoom Zoom' and [the qualities that delivers] still exist as opportunities in emerging markets."

Says Aoyama-san, CX-3 would deliver on that same DNA.

Sub-compact SUVs are among the most popular choices for new models aimed at emerging markets.

At AIMS today, Ford unveiled its EcoSport mini-SUV which was designed in Brazil and will be built in India. It is expected to sell strongly in both markets. Brands like Renault (via Dacia), Nissan, General Motors and members of the Volkswagen Audi Group all have sub-compact SUVs either under consideration or already in production.

Based on Aoyama-sa's statements, the CX-3 would logically be based on an AWD-capable version of the SKYACTIV platform that will underpin the next generation Mazda2. It's unlikely therefore that CX-3 would hit production until after the new 2 which is expected to debut in 2014.