Mazda’s first battery-electric production model, the MX-30 crossover, has not been the success story fans of the Japanese brand had hoped it would be.
In the US, the Mazda MX-30 only survived for two model years, 2022 and 2023, being plagued by a subpar range rating of 100 miles and limited availability – only California buyers could get one. Many people called it a compliance car because of this, and the sales numbers reflected that.
Mazda only sold 100 MX-30s in the US in the first eight months of 2023, down 69 percent from the previous year.
While the MX-30 lives on in other markets like Japan and Europe with an R-EV range-extender variant featuring a Wankel rotary generator, the nameplate will be gone for good from the US after the 2023 model year. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean Mazda has given up on the idea of selling EVs here.
The Japanese automaker wants to launch new EVs stateside as early as 2025 to tap into the country’s growing EV market, a report from Nikkei Asia claims. Mind you, the way Mazda plans to achieve that is very interesting given the current market context.
The new EVs will be built on platforms shared with existing gasoline-powered vehicles, the paper has learned. There are cost reasons behind this decision, obviously, but it remains to be seen how the market will receive Mazda’s EVs when other automakers like GM and Volkswagen are switching to dedicated EV architectures for their EVs.
The report also states that Mazda’s future EVs will be produced at its plant in Hofu, in western Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture. The facility can produce gasoline, hybrid, and electric cars on the same line, which is good for costs as well.
However, this also means Mazda’s new EV will not be eligible for the federal EV tax credit of up to $7,500. To qualify for credits, final assembly of EVs has to be done in North America.
At least Mazda seems to have learned one lesson from the MX-30’s poor reception in the US – selling small EVs is not profitable here. The carmaker has not disclosed what type of vehicles it aims to launch in the US but SUVs appear to be the safest bet.
“It’s hard to make money by making small EVs given the high costs of producing automobiles,” Mazda Chief Executive Masahiro Moro said in an interview. “We are looking at a segment that will appeal to would-be EV buyers.”
Unfortunately, that might mean that an electric Mazda MX-5 sports car is not a priority.
The US is Mazda’s biggest single market, making up around 30 percent of its total global sales. The brand aims for EVs to account for 25-40 percent of its global sales by 2030.
Source: Nikkei Asia
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