Mazda Motor Corporation has started production of the new compact CX-5 crossover at its Hofu Plant No. 2 in Yamaguchi Prefecture. It is the latest entree in the crossover parade – one that is bordering on a universal stampede – to meet growing global demand for crossovers. Until now the CX-5 has been produced at the company’s Hiroshima Plant and at plants in China and Malaysia.
Mazda is financially struggling and wants to meet a global sales volume target of 1.65 million units by the end of its three-year business plan, Structural Reform Stage 2, which was launched during last Japanese fiscal year.
The reasons for Mazda’s struggles are many in AutoInformed’s view: a bias toward old architectures, single or limited joint ventures, different operating philosophies and systems, no true mergers, lack of trust and inequality in operations. However, the potential savings of large link-ups or mergers are now just too large to ignore, especially for CEOs, but not necessarily for middle managers and workers. (See AutoInformed.com on New Toyota and Mazda Collaboration – Takeover or Merger?)
In recent years global demand for crossovers has surged, of course. No surprise here with good vision, a nice ride compared to traditional trucks, relatively acceptable fuel- economy, the latest safety and driver assist systems, and decent hauling capability and or flexible seating.
Mazda has responded by making its production system more flexible. In December 2016 the Hofu Plant joined the Hiroshima plant in producing the CX-3, a compact crossover SUV. And in August of this year, the system for production of crossovers at the Hiroshima Plant’s body factory was enhanced.
The CX-5 crossover is a redesigned compact SUV, which “refines every element of Mazda’s design.” CX-5 launched in Japan first before rolling out to global markets in the hottest segment in the business.
CX-5 will offer a 2.2-diesel engine in North America from the second half of 2017. It will be Mazda’s first diesel engine model in the moribund North American diesel market.
The slogan for development of the all-new CX-5 was “an SUV all customers will enjoy.” Mazda claims that the CX-5 is engineered “in line with human sensibilities to deliver responsive performance that conforms to the driver’s expectations.”
CX-5 also allegedly concentrates on passenger comfort, with a quiet cabin and pleasant ride, and adopts G-Vectoring Control, the first of the badly named Skyactiv-Vehicle Dynamics motion control technologies. Designed under the “KODO-Soul of Motion” design theme (we are not making this Mazda styling babble up), the exterior is “both bold and sensual, and the interior has been crafted to give occupants a pleasant feeling. The body color lineup includes the newly developed Soul Red Crystal, which highlights the beauty and quality of Mazda’s KODO designs. Any California hot rodder will recognize the color as candy apple red.
The powertrain lineup includes 2- and 2.5-liter gasoline, and as noted a new 2.2-liter diesel engine. All three options offer, it’s claimed, “a powerful, linear driving performance and outstanding environmental performance.”
Launched in 2012, the CX-5 was the first new-generation model featuring SKYACTIV technology* and Kodo design. It has since grown into a core model that is sold in over 120 countries and accounts for approximately one quarter of Mazda’s global sales volume.
*Skyactiv is a badly named umbrella term for Mazda’s next-generation technologies, including gasoline and diesel engines, transmissions, body and chassis, developed to provide both driving pleasure and outstanding environmental and safety performance, based on the company’s Sustainable Zoom-Zoom long-term vision for technology development.
- 1981: Transmission production facility opens in Nakanoseki, Hofu, Yamaguchi Prefecture
- 1982: A vehicle production facility (now Hofu Plant No. 1) opens in Nishinoura, Hofu
- 1992: A second vehicle production facility (now Hofu Plant No. 2) opens in Nishinoura
- 2002: Production of Mazda6 (Atenza) begins at H2
- 2003: Production of Mazda3 (Axela) begins at H1
- 2006: Total production volume of transmissions in Nakanoseki reaches 25 million
- 2013: Production capacity for SKYACTIV-Drive and SKYACTIV-MT is enhanced
- 2013: Total production volume of vehicles at Hofu Plant reaches 10 million units
- 2014: Production of Mazda2 begins at H1
- 2016: Production of Mazda CX-3 begins at H1
- 2017: Production of all-new Mazda CX-5 begins at H2