Reports have emerged of Mazda confirming that from an engineering perspective, the all-new 2.5L turbo-four engine from the Mazda CX-9 crossover can be handled by the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 without much difficulty.
That has stoked hopes that the automaker is bringing back Mazda Performance Series (MPS) versions of its two well-loved passenger cars. Well, actually they’re not well-loved enough to convince Mazda that MazdaSpeed 3 and 6 are worth another shot.
By the end of the first half of this year, sales of the Mazda 3 had declined by 6.4 percent against the first half of 2015. For the Mazda 6, it fell by a more substantial 27.4 percent.
Those numbers say a lot, but the clearest message is that both nameplates would only guarantee more loss for Mazda if it were to invest in resurrecting their performance models. Unlike Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, or even Kia, Mazda is actually a low-scale automaker.
And it doesn’t have sufficient resources to take risks. The company had been surviving for so long in spite of its position as a minnow in the industry due to its conservative philosophy. It doesn’t even have hybrid models in its lineup.
Plus the MazdaSpeed project would go against the current direction of the Japanese car maker, which is to move upward to the borderline premium segment. In the long run, it makes sense for the small Mazda lineup to attract premium buyers rather than trying to tackle the cost-focused mass market – sort of like Porsche.
Anyway, the brand’s move to a higher segment cannot come abruptly, lest it ends up like Kia, but in stages. That’s why it’s going near-premium first, as evidenced by more luxe models in the newly released CX-9 and Mazda MX-5 RF. In all of this, it hardly makes sense for brash performance vehicles to be a priority.