High-performance brands have become more popular these days as existing brands have begun fortifying their lineups just as upstart brands are getting into the picture. In Mazda’ s case, it already has the MPS brand to call its own. Sadly, that sub-brand has been dormant for too long. But all that could change if Mazda finally decides to brush off the cobwebs off of MPS and bring it back to prominence.
Yuji Nakamine, Mazda’s global director and senior managing executive officer recently spoke with to discuss the possibility of seeing the MPS performance make a return. While he stopped short of actually confirming the long-awaited comeback of MPS, he did say that it was something that management has been looking into it.
Nakamine’s comments don’t necessarily deviate from the company’s previous stance that bringing back the MPS is not a priority at the moment, but in the wake of rival automakers pushing for their own performance sub-brands, there appears to have renewed interest in the idea of seeing MPS return to prominence. The question at this point is how committed Mazda is to it knowing that bringing MPS back could cut some time and resources away from expanding its own SUV lineup.
For his part, Nakamine doesn’t see it as a shift in focus but more about “deploying our engineering resources for the best interests of our customers in the market.” It’s a smart stance to take, knowing that if MPS is revived, Mazda will need to be fully invested to the cause. If anything, the exec coyly dodged questions on a possible timetable, opting only to say that it could happen before the Japanese automaker’s 100th anniversary in 2020.
Why it matters
Normally, I’d jump at the chance to urge an automaker like Mazda to bring back its MPS performance brand. But the more I thought about it, the less it made it sense to do it now. Timing is important when making decisions like this and in my head, it doesn’t feel right to bring back MPS for the sake of bringing back because everybody else is doing it in form or another. Let the others join the rush. Step back, study your options, and wait for the perfect time to return. That’s what I’ll do if I were Mazda.
If the company holds off on it, it could align the return of the MPS performance brand with the RX sports car, which we just learned isn’t going to happen itself in the next couple of years. But down the road, an RX-badged sports car that could serve as the poster boy of the returning MPS performance brand makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
To its credit, Mazda itself isn’t in any particular haste. I just hope that when the time comes that it finally unleashes the MPS performance brand into the world, it’s going to do so with a full commitment to making it one of the best performance brands in the business. I’m sorry, but the latest iteration of the Mazda3 MPS was far from what I consider a real MPS model.