February 16, 2014 1:00 am JST

Mazda launching subcompact SUV to tap growing home market

TOKYO -- Mazda Motor will begin selling a subcompact sport utility vehicle in Japan within the year, with plans to increase its domestic SUV offerings from the current one model to three by 2015.

     The SUV segment is one of the few bright spots in Japan's auto market, with sales of such vehicles climbing 7.2% on the year in 2013 while overall sales remained flat.

     The new model will be developed based on the Demio subcompact, which is set for a complete overhaul this summer. The SUV will share design similarities with the CX-5, Mazda's only SUV sold in Japan, and come optional with a fuel-efficient diesel engine.

     The most affordable model will be priced between 1.5 million yen ($14,523) and 2 million yen. Mazda aims to target a new customer segment by setting the price lower than that of the CX-5, which sells for more than 2 million yen. The automaker also plans to sell the vehicle in Europe and emerging markets, where subcompacts are popular.

     Mazda will also launch its CX-9 large SUV, which it sells in North America and Australia, in Japan as early as 2015. The vehicle has three rows of seats and accommodates up to seven people. It is particularly popular in North America, where people tend to prefer larger vehicles. But its size is the reason the car has not been sold in Japan, where roads are generally narrower and parking spaces smaller.

     The CX-9 was unveiled seven years ago and is scheduled to be fully remodeled. Mazda will use the makeover as an opportunity to introduce the vehicle in Japan.

     The subcompact and the CX-9 will adopt Mazda's proprietary SkyActiv environmental technology.

(Nikkei)

Get Insights on Asia In Your Inbox

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Get your first month for $0.99

Redeemable only through the Subscribe button below

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

We could not renew your subscription.
You need to update your payment information.

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

We could not renew your subscription.
You need to update your payment information.