There’s another three-row SUV coming to market, courtesy of Mazda North America.
The automaker recently announced pricing and packaging for CX-90, its all-new flagship vehicle. It will have a starting MSRP $39,595 and will arrive in dealerships this spring as a 2024 model.
Besides the extra row of seating, the performance-oriented vehicle will have a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. One of the available powertrains is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle which is expected to get around 30 miles of electric-only driving range.
Some of its competitors are the recently unveiled Toyota Grand Highlander, the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Volkswagen Atlas and Subaru Ascent.
The automaker unveiled the product recently via an “unboxing” campaign using influencers, playing off the phenomenon made popular during the pandemic when consumers would post videos on social media of opening new products.
To lead up to the reveal of the CX-90, Mazda examined each decision, and the philosophies that led to them, in a four-episode series produced exclusively for Mazda’s social channels.
The effort from bespoke WPP agency Garage Team Mazda aimed to generate intrigue and increase consumer engagement over the month of January as videos showed the first-CX-90 being hand-assembled.
The series was hosted by Hiroyuki Sanada, who appeared recently in “Bullet Train" and will headline “John Wick 4,” which opens March 24.
The final reveal video has been viewed more than 559,000 times on YouTube alone since it was posted two weeks ago.
The automaker thinks of marketing as more than just advertising or promotion, says Brad Audet, Mazda North America CMO.
"It's really about how do we create an enduring emotional bond with our customers and our shoppers,” Audet tells Marketing Daily. “And I think you could tell over the last couple of years, we've been working really hard to elevate the brand in a more premium kind of way, but also create a very strong distinctiveness for the brand.”
The campaign is a reflection of the company’s aspiration to set itself apart from the competition, says Mazda President Jeff Guyton.
“We're not trying to be luxury, a super-expensive brand,” Guyton tells Marketing Daily. “We are trying to provide a premium experience at the dealer, online or anytime you touch Mazda, and also in the vehicle.”
In creating the CX-90, the company is hoping to continue to highlight its prowess in design and safety as well as the driving experience, he says.
Clearly, it’s paying off. It has its best market share in 20 years.
“The last time we had a better market share, we had 900 dealers in the U.S. and we now have 550,” Guyton says. “We wanted to get to a place where the dealers were engaged with the brand and aligned with where we wanted to go. And I think we've really gotten there. Honestly, the network is a source of strength for us today.”
Unlike some other automakers, Mazda isn’t giving any ultimatums to its dealers regarding the sale of electric vehicles or required investments to prepare their dealerships for a future with more EVs.
“No big announcements from us like ‘go this way or the highway,’” Guyton says. “That’s not where we are with our network. We have a very attractive package of requirements and support for them to get ready. And I think the overwhelming majority of the network is ready for where we are now.”