MAZDA is gearing up to reposition its MX-5 sports car with a more basic entry-level model priced below $40,000.
Due in 2015, the new MX-5 is being developed in conjunction with Fiat and will be the biggest change to the world’s best-selling roadster since it arrived on the scene in 1989.
Speaking to Wheels, Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders said the company had looked at the positioning of the Toyota 86 sports car, which is priced from $29,990 (plus on-road and dealer costs) – well down on the $47,280 asked for the current Mazda MX-5.
“If 86 taught us anything it’s if you take the price down far enough you can attract some new people into that sports car segment,” said Benders.
Mazda said it wasn’t reacting directly to the pricing of the 86 – which in some months has outsold the Ford Falcon, among other volume-selling models – but that the positioning of the MX-5 was on the agenda.
“There is absolutely an opportunity to look at where the car is priced,” said Mazda Australia public relations manager Steve Maciver.
Benders said he was considering adding a manual folding roof option for the MX-5 in place of the electric folding hard-top that is a more expensive set-up.
He also gave the strongest hint yet that Australia would take the expected entry-level 1.5-litre engine as well as the flagship 2.0-litre for more expensive models.
“There are ways of packaging powertrains and so on where you could do something [to bring the price of the MX-5 down],” said Benders. “There’s a whole range of variants we can put in there that could certainly drag it down.”
Mazda has announced it will reveal its new-look MX-5 on September 4, pulling the covers off the fourth-generation roadster at simultaneous events in Japan, the US and Europe.