'We already have a seven-seat turbo-petrol model in the CX-9, so I don't think there would be much room to replicate that'.
With the CX-9 and CX-5 now available with a turbocharged petrol engine, Mazda has ruled out bringing a petrol version of its segment-straddling CX-8 to Australia.
With power from the same 2.5-litre turbo and naturally-aspirated engines offered in the CX-5, the non-diesel CX-8 was revealed as part of a mid-life refresh in Japan. At the time, Mazda Australia said there were "no local announcements" on the vehicle.
Speaking yesterday with CarAdvice, Alastair Doak, marketing director at Mazda's local division, said the CX-9 is already in place to satiate market desire for seven-seat petrol vehicles.
"We already have a seven-seat turbo-petrol model in the CX-9, so I don't think there would be much room to replicate that," he said.
"We brought in CX-8 as very much a standalone model, and it has a diesel, and that's what gives it that little point of difference... I think it's important to have that separation between the two models."
Although demand has "softened" for diesel over the last few years, Mazda's marketing boss said "there's still a core set of buyers who want diesel... people who do more country driving and long distances are still very much asking for diesel, and that's why we've got them there".
"We've seen petrol prices creep back up in recent times, so it will be interesting to see if there's renewed interest in diesel," he mused.
On the sales front, there were 233 registrations for the CX-8 and 549 for the CX-9 last month. That's a combined 8.3 per cent of the Large SUV under $70k segment.
Looked at in isolation, the CX-9 trails the Toyota Kluger (13.7 per cent), Toyota Prado (14.7 per cent), and Hyundai Santa Fe (7.6 per cent) in its class. It's also outsold by the ute-based Isuzu MU-X, which is a different vehicle but classifies as a rival in VFACTS.
Diesel lags well behind petrol on the sales charts, falling 31.6 per cent in private passenger cars and 17.2 per cent in private SUVs year-to-date. It still dominates light-commercial vehicle sales, however.