The Philippines is a tough market for smaller auto manufacturers, dominated as it is by diesel-powered pickup-passenger vehicles (PPVs) from a limited number of brands. Six of the 10 best-selling cars in the country last year had diesel engines plunked on a ladder-frame chassis. The biggest carmakers in the country all rely heavily on pickup trucks and pickup-derived vehicles for sales volume.
Ordinarily, this would be disheartening for a small brand like Mazda—especially since the only truck in its showroom, the BT-50, is near the end of its life cycle, with a replacement at least a year away. But Hiroshima’s most famous automotive brand prides itself on its flexibility. With its reconfigurable assembly lines and wide parts sharing between product lines, it can pivot to building new offerings more quickly than most.
The CX-8 is a perfect example of this flexibility. Sharing heavily with the CX-5 compact crossover, it’s a midsize seven-seat crossover SUV aimed right at the heart of the PPV market.