The upcoming Mazda MX-5 RF folding hardtop is expected to account for around 50 per cent of all MX-5 sales when it hits Australian showrooms in the first part of 2017.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the announcement of the extension of the company’s long-running partnership with the North Melbourne Football Club, Mazda Australia boss Martin Benders said the new variant should appeal to older buyers who want an MX-5 but would like the "extra comfort" of a coupe.
Above: Benders, second from right, at the North Melbourne Football Club yesterday
Benders also hinted that, like the previous folding hardtop MX-5, the RF will carry a notably heavier price.
“The MX-5 sells to a young group and to an older group,” said Benders. “The older group might prefer the hardtop, where price isn’t an issue for them.”
“It will probably [account for] at least half. With the old model, that’s where we finished with the hardtop on sale,” he added.
The MX-5 RF was unveiled at this year's New York motor show in March, debuting as a successor to the previous hardtop model, but with a targa-like design at the rear.
Full local details are still to come, but, for now, it is known that Mazda Australia will offer the RF exclusively with the more powerful 2.0-litre unit of the two engines available with the MX-5 range.
For more on the Mazda MX-5 RF, see our New York unveiling article here.
G-Vectoring Chassis system to roll out quickly
Mazda's new G-Vectoring chassis control system is likely to feature across the Mazda range within the next two to three years, Benders told CarAdvice.
“The plan is to roll it out quite quickly, within the next couple of years,” he said.
The company's local chief reiterated that the new system will only add to the dynamics and driver experience for which the manufacturer already claims a strong reputation.
“It basically makes the steering much more linear and much more predictable,” he said. “In a straight line, the amount of correcting you need to do is effectively eliminated.”
“It just improves our chassis dynamics that one step further, but using the engine electronics,” Benders added.
Above: 2016 Mazda CX-9
This year has already been a big one for Mazda, which is currently the second best-selling brand in Australia. Next month will see the launch of the all-new CX-9 large SUV as a long-due replacement for the 10-year-old first-generation model.
In May, Mazda Australia announced that it has received record levels of buyer interest in the new CX-9, outdoing even the new MX-5.