Mazda wants to move away from the mass market and they have made this clear with each new vehicle they launch. They want to go up against rivals such as Mercedes and BMW one day.
However for them to be able to reach that level they have to shift their image, if they don’t want to end up the same way as Kia and the K900.
They cannot form a different luxury division like Nissan did with the Infiniti or Honda did with the Acura. This is due to the fact that Mazda doesn’t have the scale or the finances to do so.
They don’t offer all-electric vehicles or hybrids yet, so if they did make the move upmarket it would have the copy the narrow range that Porsche offers. However they have a huge portfolio with the 911 series and it has taken some time for them to reach that stage over the years.
This is how it is going to be for Mazda if they want to make it to the same level as Mercedes or Audi, as they would have to take on Lexus, Infiniti and Acura first.
Thanks to the Kodo design language Mazda managed to get a formula that is going to mean that the Mazda 6 and Mazda 3 are able to match the Infiniti Q50 or the Lexus LS. The upmarket move began with the 2016 overhaul of the Mazda CX-9 followed on by the Mazda MX-5 RF.
The next generation Mazda CX-5 is coming our way in 2018 and it should lose its bland aspects and take on a more sensible look, like the CX-9. This is of course going to move the brand name that much closer to it being able to penetrate the premium vehicle market.