Mazda CX-5 sales hit seven figures

Mazda’s SUV passes the million mark after just three years in production

Mazda’s CX-5: SUV got off to good start by being Japan’s top-selling SUV in 2012 and 2013

Mazda’s CX-5: SUV got off to good start by being Japan’s top-selling SUV in 2012 and 2013

 

When Mazda launched the CX-5 crossover in 2012, it was easy to miss its significance. Just another tall SUV in a market already flooded with them, albeit a very nice one.

For Mazda though, it was a pure roll of the dice. The company was losing money, lots of it, back then as well as going through a divorce from Ford, and things were not looking good.

The CX-5’s all-new SkyActiv body structure and engines (designed to be lighter and more efficient than the competition) represented a major gamble – if it paid off, it meant survival for the company. If not, well . . .

It did pay off, in spades, and this week Mazda is celebrating the fact that the CX-5 has now passed the one million sales mark, just three years after it was launched. That makes it the second-fastest model to hit a million, after the hugely successful Mk1 3 hatchback.

The CX-5 got off to a good start by being the top-selling SUV in Japan in 2012 and 2013, and now it’s built in China, Russia, Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as in its home market.

It has also been a hugely significant car for Mazda here in Ireland, as Mazda Ireland chief executive Tony Howarth told The Irish Times.

“Make no bones about it, our strategy was literally do or die!  However, we were confident that by staying true to our heritage of being a true challenger brand and by producing cars based on 3 pillars – style, insight and spirited – we knew this was the only approach to take and success would be assured.  Proof of this is that the company has had two record years of profitability back to back following the launch of the CX-5 and the cars that followed it.

“It is true that we were late to introduce an SUV and that the market was already well established.  We had great confidence in the Mazda CX-5 and our different approach to solving increasing pressures on emissions and fuel economy.  From an early stage we were told that the Mazda CX-5 would deliver close to hybrid performance from a standard combustion engine. With this in mind, we knew it would be a winner.”

Mazda had had its finger badly burned just before the CX-5 with the launch of the CX-7. Initially equipped only with a thirsty 2.3-litre turbo petrol engine, it launched into the teeth of the global financial crisis, and a later addition of a diesel engine did little or nothing to prop up sales. “There are a number of factors that meant that the Mazda CX-5 was a better proposition than the Mazda CX-7.

“The combination of performance and economy was crucial but also the engineers in Mazda Corporation made a number of improvements to production, such as using computer numeric control machines which basically means that rather than one machine making many of one part, these machines can make many different parts. 

More efficiencies

“Use of these machines reduced the average time of engine production from six hours to 1.5. Also, we improved our production process so we can now produce petrol and diesel engines on the same manufacturing line offering more efficiencies.

“In 2015 we plan to sell in excess of 500 Mazda CX-5 in Ireland and the new 2015 model, with significant improvements inside and out, has been very well received with strong order banks building as we approach the July registration plate change.”