Mazda has been forced to choose whether RWD coupes are viable, and the answer isn't what we wanted to hear.
Mazda is a brand in a state of flux. Not only is it attempting to navigate the dawn of the electric era with cars like the new MX-30, but it's also trying to move upmarket with a new rear-wheel-drive platform and a spate of new SUVs on this platform that will cater to a global audience. The recently-unveiled CX-60 crossover was the first of these new models, and it will be followed by a CX-80 for Europe, while wider CX-70 and CX-90 versions will be built for the US market. The brand hasn't forgotten about the MX-5 Miata, which will live on, but there have been casualties. According to a report from Autocar, our hopes of a production version of Mazda's Vision Coupe concept from 2017 are officially up in smoke.
Originally debuting at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, it showcased the latest advancement of the Kodo: Soul of Motion design language. But while the RX Vision, which debuted two years prior in 2015, is still potentially getting a production go-ahead if all the rumors, patents, and trademarks are anything to go by, the Vision Coupe has been put on ice. The reason we won't see a sleek RWD coupe is simple. "This SUV trend is continuing, and even more for Mazda. It's what's selling best," said Joachim Kunz, Mazda Europe's engineering boss.
That's not to say he wouldn't like to see it come to fruition, claiming "it would be very nice" to see an "FR concept and six-cylinder engine… for a large sports coupe." It won't happen though. "We would like to have it, but at this point in time, it's most important to sell SUVs," he says.
While sad, it's not like we didn't know this was coming. We previously learned that the RWD Mazda 6 wasn't going to happen for this same reason, and the writing has been on the walls for some time now. SUVs simply sell better, and when brands need to make ends meet, they have to give the buyers what they want. Mazda can't focus on a massive enthusiast portfolio that will only sell in limited numbers, which is why if we want the MX-5 Miata to live on, we'll have to accept that the market for a BMW 4 Series rival simply isn't big enough for Mazda to turn a profit from.