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RWD Mazda SUVs expected to launch next year

When it comes to new product, it sounds like 2022 is going to be a big year for this relatively small automaker -- with an inline-six engine to boot.

2020 Mazda CX-9

The Mazda CX-9 SUV is already a delight, but switching it to a rear-wheel-drive platform could make it even better.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone, including Mazda. According to Nikkei Asia, the small, Hiroshima, Japan-based automaker's global sales are expected to tumble 8% when its fiscal year ends in March, a showroom performance that's expected to result in an $870 million loss, a significant amount for such a small company.

To staunch the bleeding, Mazda is developing new products including popularly sized SUVs, models to replace the CX-5 and CX-8, the latter not sold in the US currently. These vehicles will reportedly ride atop a new rear-wheel-drive architecture for sportier dynamics and feature Skyactiv-X gasoline and diesel engines. Likely of the inline-six variety, these powerplants should displace between 3.0- and 3.3-liters and benefit from mild-hybrid technology to improve performance and, more importantly, fuel economy.

mazda-rotary-1

Mazda is perhaps best known for commercializing the rotary engine.

Mazda

According to supplier companies that work with Mazda, these new SUVs are expected to be introduced in 2022, though they will likely be sold alongside the existing CX-5 and CX-8 models since they're still competitive in the market. Associated parts-makers are allegedly planning to provide components for around 300,000 vehicles. That figure is projected to account for about 20% of car company's global sales, at least in the fiscal year that ends in March of 2025.

Aside from rear-wheel-drive SUVs with new six-cylinder powerplants, Mazda is pushing to reintroduce a version of what is arguably its most famous engine, the Wankel rotary. It's expected the automaker will use this type of powerplant as a generator in a version of its MX-30 electric utility vehicle. This new range-extended drivetrain is also expected to launch in 2022 and could give the automaker a nice way of differentiating itself form rival companies that are introducing a flurry of EVs. If nothing else, it should pique the interest of Mazda enthusiasts. Aside from this, it's reported the automaker is also working on plug-in hybrid versions of its larger vehicles, which could improve performance and efficiency.

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