The company is expected to unveil a new crossover in Geneva next month.
As shoppers continue to go crazy for crossovers, companies like Mazda are shifting their production to capitalize on the market. They currently have three crossovers in the U.S. market. There’s the subcompact CX-3, the compact CX-5, and the midsize CX-9. All of them tackle hugely competitive segments of the market, but Mazda sees room for more crossovers in the lineup. We know there’s a ‘new SUV’ coming at Geneva next month. Our best guess is a CX-4 crossover that will split the difference between the CX-3 and CX-5. However, Mazda North American Operations CEO Masahiro Moro told reporters the brand has yet another model in the works, per an Autoblog piece.
Headed to Alabama
Mazda recently broke ground on a $1.6 billion joint-venture plant in Alabama. From there, Moro said the brand has a new model planned for the U.S. market. He told reporters at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, “it will be a new crossover SUV which is exclusively designed for the North American market.” Automotive News reports the facility will start production in 2021. On that basis, Mazda won’t immediately produce the crossover set to unveil at Geneva in March.
When the Mazda-Toyota facility goes online, it will reportedly employ 4,000 full-time workers with an average pay rate of $65,000 per year. When production ramps up, the two companies expect to push out 300,000 vehicles annually. Toyota will build the new Corolla there, while Mazda will allegedly build this new crossover.
Of course, exactly which crossover they’re planning remains a mystery. Moro did mention it will be “exclusively designed for the North American market”. That rules out the CX-4, which is currently produced and sold in China. Perhaps Mazda is planning a new CX-7 or another model to fill the gap between the CX-5 and CX-9, but nothing is confirmed yet.
Whatever Mazda does produce at the plant, we’re sure it will use an updated SkyActiv Vehicle Architecture which underpins the new Mazda3, and possibly the brand’s new SkyActiv-X engine.