Based on Mazda’s process of 'bundled planning' - a concept of creating multiple models based on the same architecture at the same time - it seems almost certain the soon-to-launch MX-5 will be the first of potentially numerous vehicles based on the same rear-wheel-drive architecture.
Mazda representative director and vice chairman of the board Seita Kanai tried his best to avoid answering questions about future rear-wheel-drive models based on the MX-5 platform while speaking with Australian media including CarAdvice in Hiroshima, Japan.
“Too much good question,” Kenai said while laughing. "I can’t answer."
Kenai had just given a presentation on Mazda’s development philosophy, which requires the company to make maximum use of platforms using bundled planning, a strategy intended to shore up the company's long-term viability as a relatively small manufacturer.
In the same way that the Mazda 3 and CX-5, Mazda 2 and upcoming Mazda CX-3, and Mazda 6 and forthcoming CX-9 are all co-developed both in terms of R&D and factory preparation, the new MX-5, which is said to be radically different to the three generations before it, is likely to have a bigger brother in the medium- to long-term future.
The company’s global boss of sales and marketing, Masahiro Moro, would not comment on the speculated larger sports car, emphasising the company’s sole focus on MX-5 for the moment.
“Our mission is to make the MX-5 very successful," Moro said. "After that we move towards the next stage but our current mission is purely how can we make the MX-5 successful.”
It's likely that Mazda's partnership with Fiat Chrysler to use the MX-5 platform for a Fiat Roadster will balance the books for the short term, but it's unlikely to be the only plans Mazda has for the architecture.
Mazda will unveil the new fourth-generation MX-5 later this year before its Australian launch early in 2015. The company has sold over 900,000 MX-5s since the car's launch in 1989.