The Mazda CX-3 is further down the track than expected, with the company's smallest SUV now tipped to launch in 2015.
The Japanese brand, however, has said it will launch five new models between 2014 and 2016. Three of those models will be the next-generation versions of the Mazda 2 city car, MX-5 roadster and CX-9 seven-seater SUV.
The Mazda CX-3 will be a fourth model, with the fifth remaining a mystery but unlikely to be a rotary-powerd sports car that now seems unlikely till about 2017 – the 50th anniversary of Mazda's first rotary car, the Cosmo.
The Japanese brand will focus on the next-generation 2 and MX-5 in 2014, with the city car due to be unveiled at March’s Geneva motor show and the open-top sports car to appear before its 2015 global launch.
Mazda’s new CEO and president, Masamichi Kogai, would only say the company continued to study the small SUV market below its popular CX-5 (above).
“There’s nothing that is decided or can be announced at present [on a CX-3],” Kogai-san told Australian media at the Tokyo motor show. “So as future next-generation products become clear we will announce and disclose at [the] appropriate time.”
Mazda insiders, however, continue to hint strongly at the new model and it seems to now be a question of whether it emerges before or after the second-generation CX-9.
The Mazda CX-3 is expected to be based heavily on the new Mazda 2, with its own distinctive styling and a higher ride height.
It will rival a whole bunch of new baby SUVs that have either just launched or are coming up – including the Holden Trax, Ford EcoSport, Renault Captur, Nissan Juke and Peugeot 2008.