Is Mazda warming up to the idea of reintroducing performance-focused MPS or Mazdaspeed models? Quite possibly.
While Mazda President and CEO Masamichi Kogai told us at last year’s LA Auto Show that an MPS revival was not part of the upcoming product plan, the company’s Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer Yuji Nakamine was a little more open-minded.
Speaking to the media at the opening of Mazda Australia’s new headquarters in Melbourne, Nakamine said that while MPS-badged models have yet to make it into Mazda’s product pipeline, the company hasn’t completely turned its back on the idea.
“I receive this question a lot,” Nakamine said. “I know many people are excited about MPS.” “We are trying to upgrade the SkyActiv technologies for future products and we are clearly focusing on that one. But I don’t reject the possibility of MPS in the future.“
But the re-introduction of MPS models won’t happen unless they’re able to pay their way. Nakamine was adamant that no MPS or Mazdaspeed model would be a loss-leader for the automaker.
“Mazda needs to be careful about how we deploy our engineering resources for the best interest of our customers in the market,” he said. “And if there we can make an MPS business case feasible, I think we should study that. I don’t reject the possibility.”
2011 Mazda3 MPS
2011 Mazda3 MPS
Nakamine also conceded that a range of MPS variants could help take the brand upmarket and put it into closer competition with sub-premium rivals like Volkswagen.
“I think that strategy is feasible and is reasonable. MPS may help us improve the brand further, so we’ll continue to look at the possibility for that.”
The last MPS model to be offered by Mazda was the Mazda3 MPS, a 190kW/380Nm FWD hot hatch powered by a turbo 2.3 litre turbocharged inline four. It exited the market in 2013.
Rendering by Theo Chin