2023 Mazda CX-50 production begins, marking company's return to US manufacturing
The new plant resides in Huntsville, Alabama, and is the product of a joint venture between Mazda and Toyota.
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Mazda's ready to tackle America's appetite for more rugged SUVs. On Wednesday, the first 2023 CX-50 SUV rolled off a sparkling, new assembly line in Huntsville, Alabama. The SUV's production marks Mazda's return to building cars in the US after a 10-year hiatus. Mazda last produced cars in the US in Michigan through a Ford joint venture in Flat Rock, Michigan. The new plant is a joint venture between Mazda and Toyota, named Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, and both will share the production capacity.
With the plant's 4,000-strong workforce and $2.3 billion worth of investment behind it, the plant's first mission is continue churning out the tailor-made CX-50 for North America. The SUV marks a new strategy for the small Japanese automaker as American buyers move away from passenger cars and embrace more rugged utility vehicles. All the while, the CX-5 will remain and serve as a more traditional crossover SUV option for buyers. We'll soon see Mazda expand its SUV lineup with an all-new CX-70 SUV and a next-generation CX-90 to replace the current CX-9.
The CX-50 packs a standard all-wheel drive system, heftier looks with body cladding and a new drive mode selector Mazda named Mi-Drive. It lets drivers choose between a handful of modes tuned for off-road elements, towing and more. All the while, the company wants the SUV to carry forward the brand's recent push into a more premium space. Car buyers will have the final say as they perhaps seek out a Subaru alternative in the CX-50.
To start, the SUV features either a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four or 2.5-liter turbo-four engine. Both work with a six-speed automatic transmission. However, Mazda is quickly planning to electrify the SUV with a traditional hybrid powertrain and beyond.
We'll see the first CX-50s land at dealers this coming spring with pricing ahead of time.