Mazda wants to make a move closer to Acura and Infiniti and stray from the mass market. They are hoping to eventually take on BMW and Mercedes.
Of course they are going to have to change their image to one that is more aggressive to do this, otherwise they may just end up the same way as Kia did with the Kia K900. Mazda are not able to just come up with a luxury division though due to the fact that they don’t have the scale or the money.
Bear in mind that they don’t have all-electric vehicles or hybrids so if they do make a move towards the luxury division they are going to have to start from rock bottom in much the same way as Porsche did with a narrow range. Porsche does have a big portfolio and this is due to the 911 series. However they didn’t become successful overnight, it did take some years.
Things will go the same way for Mazda if they want to eventually take on Mercedes, BMW and Audi. Before they do this they will have to compete with Infiniti, Acura and Lexus first.
Thanks to the Mazda 3 and 6 they do have a formula that allows them to take on the Infiniti Q50 and Lexus LS, due to the Kodo design language. They began the upmarket move when they launched the Mazda CX-9 and they have continued with the Mazda MX-5 RF.
They do need to make the 2018 Mazda CX-5 less bland looking to put it alongside the Mazda CX-9. Should they be able to do this then they are one more step nearer to the premium market and the remainder of their line-up should follow on.