The upcoming Mazda MX-5 will have to be keener on pricing to better compete with the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins, according to the boss of Mazda Australia.
Speaking to CarAdvice at last week’s Los Angeles auto show, the man in charge of Mazda Australia, Martin Benders, admitted there’s opportunity for sharper pricing on the new MX-5 to temp younger buyers back to the model.
That opportunity will come with the base model MX-5 that is powered by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine.
“I guess [Toyota] 86 and [Subaru] BRZ sort of showed that there’s still a market for younger people wanting to buy a sports car.” Benders told CarAdvice.
“The two engines that have been announced [for the MX-5] allow us an opportunity to go a bit harder [on price] at this bottom end again, the car is good enough in style to do that so we are going to have a go and see what we can do.”
Benders likened the age-cycle of MX-5 buyers to that of a camel hump, with many starting at a young age, giving it up for a family and then coming back when the kids have moved out.
Nonetheless, with its current starting price of $47,200, younger buyers are being priced out of the market, with the outgoing MX-5 model mostly sought after by older males.
“As it got older it has got cruisier, we basically only sell retractable hardtop models in auto and it’s all in this older area for guys that say ‘yeah I want to go to a sports car but don’t want to give up my comfort.’”
Considering the Toyota 86 starts at $29,990 for a base model manual (though it’s not a convertible), we expect the base model MX-5 with the 1.5-litre engine to start in the low to mid $30,000s when it goes on sale late next year while the 2.0-litre will start below $40,000 for the base manual.
So if you’re expecting a new Mazda MX-5 for under $30,000, you may be disappointed with Benders admitting that Mazda may not be able to take on its Japanese rivals “head on”.
What price do you think the new Mazda MX-5 should start from in order to recapture a younger buyer?