Mazda president Masamichi Kogai, in a new year’s address, reflected on the company’s endeavours in 2016 and their aspirations for 2017. 2016 saw the company begin the second stage of restructuring, and Mr. Kogai noted that “With 2017, we will be starting our batting order again from the top with our heavy hitters coming out first.”

Mr. Kogai stated that he thought “2016 was the year that Mazda’s restructuring efforts reached their second stage, and I believe we have made progress in terms of qualitative business growth and brand improvements.”

In terms of the company’s new lineup, “In China we will be introducing a new model, the CX-4, along with the new hybrid CX-9, and the derivative model, the Roadster-RF. In addition to this, through applying our next generation driving control technology, G-Vectoring Control,” as well as new safety features, we have made improvements to our current lineup,” Mr. Kogai highlighting the company’s plans for continuous improvements to its products.

In terms of production, he noted that from December, production of the CX-3 would begin to meet the demands of the ever growing global demand for SUVs, and that the company had improved “flexibility of inter-factory and inter-model production.”

Looking toward 2017, “We will be starting our batting order again from the top with our heavy hitters coming out first,” and that the new model CX-5 would be made available for purchase in Japan from February. Since the first inception of the CX-5 in February 2012, all models have been equipped with SKYACTIV and KONDO design, the model having become a staple for the company, comprising one quarter of all global sales at present. This iteration of the vehicle will be the first overhaul that it has seen since its inception.

“We will without fail make this car a success, and I am also hoping to make sure that the efforts behind our second stage restructuring bear fruit as well,” stated Mr. Kogai. “I hope this year will prove to be a grand slam for Mazda.”

[Translated by Bryce Clarke]