The Japanese car maker released a teaser sketch of the swoopy, coupe-inspired Koeru crossover concept earlier this month, sending the automotive rumour mill into overdrive about the car and its production potential.
One suggestion is that the Koeru concept displays Mazda’s vision for a sporty SUV spun off the platform its top-selling CX-5, potentially dubbed CX-4 or CX-6, mirroring the likes of BMW’s X4 and X6 and Mercedes-Benz’s GLC Coupe and GLC Coupe SUVs.
Mazda gave few hints about the concept upon releasing the teaser image around two weeks ago. The word “Koeru” in Japanese denotes exceeding or going beyond something arbitrary, which Mazda says reflects the concept’s mission to “exceed existing category standards and stereotypes”.
Mazda’s three SUVs (CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9) currently make up almost 10 per cent of all SUV sales in Australia, such has been their rampant success in our market, and naturally any suggestion of an addition to those ranks sets tongues wagging.
But Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak this week tempered expectations for the imminent addition of a fourth SUV to the line-up, insisting that Koeru was very much a concept at this stage.
“It’s an interesting idea, but it is very much an idea at this stage. Let’s wait for Frankfurt to get the details of the car.”
Doak said Mazda was thrilled with the success of its SUVs in our market, but said the company needed to assess any future additions to the range with care.
“Certainly the market has got a very healthy appetite for SUVs and we’ve been very fortunate that CX-3 and CX-5 have really fired for us. We couldn’t be happier with either CX-5 or CX-3.
“CX-9 getting towards the end of its life is doing okay, and we’ll see what happens with the new one.
“[But] you need to be careful. While there is an expansion in SUVs you have to look at how much they’re going to start sitting on top of each other.
“I think CX-3 and CX-5 can very happily live together, there is a very clear differentiation in size and functionality and all those other things, and between CX-5 and CX-9 there’s a very clear step between each one.
“The question is: Is there room to fill the gaps? And ultimately you get products sitting on top of each other, and at that point is there enough market, is there enough differentiation to make it worth while, or are you just adding complication?
“That’s the same for everything, for your 2s, your 3s, your 6s, so to look at these opportunities you really have to sit up and do some market research, that’s the same process for any decision about any car.”
Doak said that due to Mazda’s strong position in the Australian market (the brand is currently the second highest seller this year), the local division would have plenty of input about any decisions relating to developing Koeru further or any other additions to the global line-up.
“We’re certainly in that core group of markets where we always get asked very early in the piece about product. As you can imagine there’s the US, Europe, Japan, China to an extent, and Australia’s in there. We’re not in the volume league of those other guys – obviously they’re much, much bigger – but because of our strength here and because of our market share we’re in the very privileged position where we do get asked to give feedback to those things… We’re always at the table with those bigger markets.”
The Mazda Koeru concept will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show on September 17.