It's a tough time for the auto industry. The effects of the pandemic on the global economy and the major shifts on consumer preferences (i.e. from internal combustion to electric, or from sedans to SUVs) have made automakers make some difficult decisions, particularly with cost cutting and trimming models that don't sell.
One such automaker that has just made a big decision is Mazda. Actually, they made two.
Mazda recently announced that they are discontinuing two models for one big market, as they stated they will no longer be offering the CX-3 and Mazda 6 in North America. Below is the statement from Mazda Motor North America on the matter.
For more than 100 years, Mazda has successfully navigated shifting consumer needs and an ever-changing industry with beautifully designed vehicles that are fun to drive. As consumer interests continue to evolve, Mazda will discontinue CX-3 and Mazda6 for the 2022 model year for the US market. Although these two vehicles will be leaving our lineup in the US, we are proud of the performance, design, quality, and safety they contributed to our brand.
Now this decision is something we need to look at, and we'll start with the Mazda6 which is the one we saw coming. Consumer preferences worldwide are shifting (or have already fully shifted) to crossovers and SUVs. Passenger cars are falling out of favor with customers because SUVs are offering more and for similar money. And its unfortunate to see one of the best in the class go; actually, it's probably our outright favorite in that category.
The CX-3 may seem like a bit of a surprise given that it is a crossover even though reviews of it in the Philippine found it to be more car than SUV. Mazda, however, has been following BMW's strategy by diversifying their crossover offerings and creating models that -in the eyes of customers- actually overlap. In the case of the CX-3, it was the CX-30. And the latter offered more in terms of space and capability.
The third is perhaps the one that isn't that apparent: what does this discontinuation of the CX-3 and Mazda6 in North America mean for other markets like ours? There appears to be no direct impact, but in the long term, maybe.
The CX-30 may have already largely supplanted the CX-3, so there's not much there to discuss. But the Mazda6 is interesting because the U.S. is the second largest sales market for the model in the world (after China), and they get their Mazda6 units from Japan just like we do. There will be an impact on the economies of scale of the 6. Actually, sales in other regions for the model declined rather sharply in 2020 too, though that's to be expected as the current generation Mazda6 turns 10 next year.
Mazda hasn't dropped any major teasers of the next generation model, if there will be one. There are many rumors abound that the next Mazda6 will try to be more European (German, to be specific) with a rear-wheel drive layout and a SkyActiv-X straight six, but still there are just rumors for now. If we were to look at the trend, the discontinuation of the 6 in a major volume market like the US is a potential indicator that this great midsize car could become a casualty of the shift to crossovers.
What do you think?