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by Jay Traugott
Japanese automaker planning Mazda6 coupe and Mazdaspeed6 performance sedan, plus new 2, 3, MX-5 and maybe a new rotary RX-7.
Last week at the 2012 Moscow Motor Show, Mazda revealed its all-new 6 sedan and the response so far has been very positive. In light of this, AutoExpress has reported that company executives are already looking into possibly building a high-performance version as a potential successor to the old Mazdaspeed6. Details are limited at this stage, but Mazda reportedly believes it would trim a good 100 lbs off the vehicle's curb weight to unburden whatever engine it might choose for the task.
In addition, Mazda is supposedly looking into two additional variants of the new Mazda6: a two-door coupe and an all-wheel-drive version. While all-wheel traction could help Mazda steal some customers away from Subaru, the coupe rumors come as more of a surprise. However Mazda's chief designer Akira Tamatani is reportedly keen on the idea.
At the other end of the spectrum, Automotive News is reporting that the Japanese automaker might stop selling the sub-compact Mazda2 altogether in the United States.
Although the second-generation model, due sometime in 2014, will still be sold overseas, sales for the Mazda2 have failed to take off in the US. The 2 fails to present a worthwhile alternative to the Ford Fiesta, with which it shares some of its underpinnings, and comes in at just $670 less than the larger, newer Mazda3 in American showrooms. Speaking of which, the next-gen Mazda3 is already due in late 2013 or early 2014. While the current model may not seem that old, it's been on the market for about three years, but by the time the new model arrives, the current one could be ready to go, its smiling cat face making way for new SkyActiv engines.
The aging Mazda5 minivan, however, could be forced to stick around until 2015 at the earliest. The good news is, as we've reported, that the next MX-5 Miata is well on its way. Mazda is also reportedly looking into bringing back the rotary engine, possibly as part of a hybrid setup, lending to rumors that a new RX-7 could be in the cards to give Mazda a halo sportscar once again.