Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders says customers may be more likely to purchase flagship variants of the Mazda6 and CX-5 if they shared the turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine from the CX-9.
At the MX-5 RF's national media launch last week, Mr Benders revealed his interest in adding more than just equipment in flagship variants.
“In the Mazda6 we only have a petrol and diesel, so to have another engine above those would differentiate the higher grades from the lower grades,” he said.
“There’s more scope to do more of that and do more with the range and take people up through the models and give them more value at the top end. Not just giving them another safety item or another bit of leather.”
Mr Benders said the Mazda6 and CX-5 models are ready to eschew their current naturally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder engines, potentially in favour of the force-fed unit found in the new CX-9.
It won’t be just for the sake of doing it.
The Mazda6 range last offered a turbocharged petrol variant nearly a decade ago when the top-of-the-range all-wheel-drive MPS featured a 2.3-litre donk that boasted 190kW/380Nm.
Mr Benders did state that while the CX-9's current 170kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder unit would be a logical fit for the CX-5 and Mazda6, its installation in these models would not signal the return of MPS badge as it is not a performance engine.
He also revealed that “the way that Mazda has been developing their platforms and powertrains is a little bit similar to Volkswagen, where the platforms and technology are sharable across car lines”.
However, Australia would not be the determining market with this decision as sales volume is still too low.
“So theoretically the engine that is in the CX-9 is movable into other products… (but) we won’t be able to drive that because we don’t sell a lot of Mazda6s, so you need a market like the US or China to want to do the same thing to get the economies of scale,” Mr Benders said.
The internationally popular CX-5 presents a different issue, according to Mr Benders, as it has struggled with production capacity constraints since launch, bringing doubt into why Mazda would need a turbocharged variant when the naturally aspirated petrol SUV already struggles to meet demand.
“If you’re just adding another variant and you’re selling everything you can make with what you’ve got, why do you add the complexity? The factory is still going to exhaust demand with what they’ve got and then they’ll add demand where they think they’ll need it,” he said.
“It’ll just be watch this space if and when that happens, it won’t be just for the sake of doing it.”
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