Vinesh Bhindi is all about offering choice. Mazda Australia's CEO sits back and smiles when asked why the CX-30 is here.
“It fits in very nicely with our strategy which is to offer as broad a choice as we can in Australia. If you look at what's happened in the past few years, it's clear that consumers enjoy choice,” he says.
“Australia has the most comprehensive SUV choice of any Mazda market.”
“It's still too early to talk pricing and specification but it will embrace Mazda's premium direction,” notes Bhindi, so it's fair to say that pricing will likely mirror that of the latest Mazda 3, which took a significant step upmarket with the latest generation car.
Indeed, the CX-30 marks a break with the old, and embraces many of the 3's design cues and build philosophy. Bhindi himself refers to it as 'the second product in the next generation.'
“We see the next stage of the SUV as a proliferation within the traditional segments,” adds Alastair Doak, Mazda's Australia's marketing boss.
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“So you currently have small, medium and large and have done for some years but because of demand those definitions are already starting to fragment and offer more choice. We need to be right there, ready to satisfy that demand. In terms of the small SUV sector, we have CX-3, which is small-small and now CX-30 which is large-small.”
Indeed, the success of Mitsubishi's ASX has been attributed in no small part due to the fact that it offers a decent amount of space for a small SUV.
The CX-30 is notably bigger than the CX-3. Its boot, at 430 litres, is 80 litres bigger and its wheelbase is a mere 45mm shorter than the much larger CX-5.
A six-footer will easily fit into the back, and there is in fact more headroom in the back than the front due to the fitment of a sunroof. It feels markedly more premium than the CX-3, so it's easy to see how buyers intending to purchase a CX-3 could be swayed when they spot the CX-30 in a showroom, price notwithstanding.
The name was also a bit of a headscratcher to some. It should be called a CX-4, but Mazda already sells such a car to the Chinese market so a different badge was required. The 30 badge also gives a nominal link to the Mazda 3, the car upon which the CX-30 draws significant influence.
Read more about the Mazda CX-3
So while the CX-30 might be niche-within-a-niche, it's expected to pick up some significant sales. Last month we reported on Mazda Australia expecting Mazda 3 sales to soften.
What they couldn't say then but can say now is that the CX-30 will be the reason for people switching from the hatch. It's expected to more than take up the slack in terms of units sold and having had an initial look around the vehicle, it's easy to see why.
Clearly much will depend on pricing and specification. Mazda will need to give the CX-5 adequate breathing space, but if it can do that, the CX-30 will, by 2020, be a very familiar sight to Aussie motorists.