IAB fan Rishab Jain spotted this silver Mazda CX-5 on the streets of Gurgaon, near ITM University last week. He could not click frontal shots because as soon the driver spotted him clicking, he floored the throttle and zoomed away.
Indian Autos Blog was the very first on the internet to provide evidence of the Mazda CX-5 testing in India. Our readers have caught a black test mule prior to this. Both vehicles are stripped off their badges and emblems, but run on private number plates registered in Haryana (HR-26).
No official word from the company about their foray into India is available, though last year Mazda said India's fast-growing auto market has their complete attention. The Mazda brand is present in India in the commercial vehicle segment through a joint venture between Swaraj and Isuzu (SML-Isuzu).
Mazda bringing in cars as CBU is a poor idea. This would not have any traction as the price, segment and brand totally mismatch. As India is very price sensitive market and Mazda is not an Audi or a Lexus, they have to start with the CKD route with a couple of brand shapers and then locally-manufacture cars.
Alternatively, Mazda can sign a partnership with existing players and take advantage of reduced investments and the readily-available dealer and service network of their partner.
Mazda and Suzuki have a partnership in Japan for badge-engineering cars, the easiest way to bring a new product to the market. For instance, the Suzuki Alto is rebadged as the Mazda Carol. We desperately hope Mazda would not extend the scope of this partnership to encompass India. Who wants a Mazda Swift or a Mazda Alto?
Suzuki, Ford and Fiat are associated with Mazda in the international automobile scene, where there is plenty of cross-sharing in products and technologies. Mazda could join hands with either of them and get a ticket to reach India.
Though it is too early to judge the strategy, we at IAB are watching every move that Mazda will make in India.
Black CX-5 caught testing by Rohit Dagar. See Rohit's complete catch here.