MAZDA will launch a new CX-7 after it dropped the previous model in 2012. To sit between the CX-5 and CX-9 – with the CX-3 as the entry point to Mazda’s SUV lineup – a second generation CX-7 would broaden Mazda’s presence in the SUV market, which has been booming for 20 years and shows no signs of slowing.
One possibility understood to be under serious consideration from Mazda for an all-new CX-7 is a stretched version of the CX-5 – bringing with it a longer wheelbase and seven seats to compete with the new breed of mid-sized seven-seat SUVs such as the Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander.
SUV sales grew 5.5 percent in the first 11 months of 2014 in a market that softened 2.2 percent. Most of the growth has been in the small and medium segments, the latter where the CX-7 would slot.
Speaking at the recent Los Angeles motor shows two senior Mazda executives hinted the CX-7 could make a return, something confirmed as a likely scenario to <Wheels> by Mazda insiders.
“SUV will become much bigger volume,” said Mazda managing executive officer Masahiro Moro.
Reaffirming expectations that a CX-7 could be added to the Mazda SUV family are the forecast and actual sales of the CX-5 that went on sale in 2012.
“CX-5 projection [when it first went on sale] was 160,000 [global sales annually] – this year  350,000,” said Moro, explaining it would likely remain the brand’s top selling SUV.
He said while the CX-3 had big sales expectations the larger dimensions of the CX-5 would likely make it more appealing to more people.
The CX-7 was Mazda’s first SUV, first arriving here in 2006. It was replaced by the CX-5, which was slightly bigger inside but smaller on the outside.
Moro said there was a shift away from conventional sedans, wagons and hatchbacks into SUVs.
“Almost all countries demand shift from conventional C [small] car into an SUV and C/D [medium] car into an SUV and maybe future B [light] car into SUV.
“This is a very obvious trend.”
The program manager for the CX-3, Michio Tomiyama, also hinted there was room for SUV expansion within Mazda.
“If you look at the evolution of Kodo design from CX-5 to CX-3 you can tell what evolution will be taking place from CX-3 to CX-9.”