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Watch out, Mercedes-Benz and BMW! Mazda goes all-in on premium aspirations with new CX-60, CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90 SUVs with rear-wheel drive

The CX-9 currently sits atop the Mazda range, but that will change soon.

Australia has long been a Mazda stronghold. Now the Japanese brand is hoping to use the same principles that have worked here to make it more popular around the world. 

And that could ultimately have a big impact on Mazda’s local line-up.

Mazda’s head office confirmed last week that it will expand its SUV range with four all-new models - the CX-60, CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90 - which will join the next-generation Mazda6 on the company’s upcoming rear- and all-wheel-drive platform.

Crucially this new architecture has been designed with the goal of making the brand more premium and helping it stand out in markets where it currently underperforms, most notably the USA. 

This is seemingly an ‘all-in’ moment for the brand, putting its chips on the ‘semi-premium’ hand that has worked so well in Australia.

In the past decade, Mazda has maintained a steady push towards a space in the market between its mainstream rivals - Toyota, Holden, Hyundai - and the prestige brands (Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz).

This ‘semi-premium’ positioning has worked, with Mazda moving past both Holden and Ford to secure its current place as the Australia’s second most-popular car brand.

This success also made Australia one of Mazda’s biggest markets in the world, which is why it has enjoyed privileges no other country has.

For example, Australia is the only country to sell both the Japanese-developed CX-8 and US-designed CX-9, because the local operation was able to convince global chiefs that there would be enough demand in Mazda-supporting Australia to justify two very similar seven-seat SUVs.

On the surface this new wave of models, particularly the rear-wheel-drive Mazda6 as well as the CX-70 and CX-90, seem specifically targeted at the US market. But Mazda Australia’s PR boss, Sonia Singh, downplayed any suggestion that Australia was slipping in the company’s pecking order.

“Australia remains a priority market for Mazda globally and all four SUVs in the large product group are available to Mazda Australia,” she said.

“We are currently working through whether they make sense for our market and offer a strong business case for adding them to our existing line-up.

“That work has already been done for CX-60, so we can confirm you will see that in Australia before the end of 2022.

“Mazda Australia has the broadest product offering of any market globally, and we are committed to offering Australian drivers as many choices as possible.” 

Which is why Mazda Australia is ideally positioned to take advantage of the brand’s new range of larger, premium SUVs.

While there’s no commitment yet beyond the CX-60, that means it’s possible that the local line-up could feature up to 10 SUVs in the not-too-distant future - MX-30, CX-3, CX-30, CX-5, CX-60, CX-70, CX-8, CX-80, CX-9 and CX-90.

“It’s always possible, if it makes sense to offer all of those models to our customers,” explained Ms Singh.

While there is still a lot of behind-the-scenes work to be done to create a business case for all those models, the fact it’s even a possibility underlines Mazda Australia’s position within the company’s global operation.