Mazda CX-7: Mazda’s crossover in motion

Even though 2006 seemed to be the year of the SUV, the year 2007 has proven to be the year of the crossover. Car manufacturers have been moving these large and versatile vehicles into the crossover category. While in their current forms these vehicles aren’t as refined as compared to a minivan or even a luxury sedan, these vehicles do offer a level of utility that their competitors cannot match.

Enter the Mazda CX-7 and the Ford Edge. The Mazda is a relatively recent introduction to the crossover category. It made its debut in 2000 and stayed on the market till 2004. Its main competition includes Jeep Liberty, Kia Sedona, Toyota Sequoia, and Honda Pilot.

The crossover SUV market has been steadily growing and in 2007 alone, there were about 800,000 sets of wheels in the market. Last year, about 1.5 million sets of crossovers hit the roads. That’s almost 150% more than their counterparts. Multiply that growth rate by the year 2020 and millennia car dealers won’t be able to sell all of them before 2028.

Mazda’s success in the crossover category is almost equal to its success with the auto sedan. With crossovers, Mazda is bringing to the table a vehicle that is a serious contender in its segment. It will be featuring a 262 horsepower 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine. The vehicle will also be with an available five-speed automatic transmission. Add to that the active front head restraints, stability control, and the antilock brakes and you get a vehicle with remarkable performance and good looks.

The Ford Edge, with its For Edge transmission, is Ford’s fourth crossover vehicle to make its way onto the U.S. auto list. It joined the SUV ranks with its Off Edge and crossover entries. The Edge that Ford introduced in 2005 became so popular that it was named the Corporation’s best selling vehicle in 2006. They introduced the crossover with its EdgeInfletra version in 2006. The Edge has received rave reviews and has made good sales in Great Britain.

The U.S. SUV market seems to be the same as well. In 2007, about 776,000 SUVs were sold. As compared to the vehicle total sales for 2007, those vehicles sold in 2007 is increase up to 528,000 and that is a 34% increase over the previous year. That sounds like a lot, but the year before saw a 35% increase in the sales of the SUVs. That puts the Edge and the Lincoln MKX on par with 30% and 32% respectively. The decline in the sales of SUVs could be because people shop for the higher end vehicles when they are going to buy a new car.

As far as the likelihood of a male getting behind the wheel is concerned, according to a Statistics and Automotive article, “she is more likely to use a car, while he is more likely to drive it.” It also stated that “men are more likely to be non-pressured” by their wives when choosing what car to buy. Where this statistic came from is men’s higher average ages which leads to a second doubling of the likely hood of a male buying a car. The bottom line is men like the bigger cars but women like the smaller, prettier cars.

Whether this will lead to another segment of the car market to rise is believed by some demos. Demoing the female market would have the opposite effect from what was said but there is evidence that this is a viable segment of the market. The research is in and the answer is yes, the second generation car buyers is still coming out to buy. The breakdown of the customers is 50-50 male-to-woman and the higher percentage of women in the market gives the manufacturers reason to just step up their game.

If women don’t come out and buy the cars, it will be harder for the next generation of purchasers. And that is what Ford and Mazda are banking on. They’ve known about this demographic for some time and have done nothing to its advantage.

To reach the next chunk of the market, Ford and Mazda are rolling out some exciting new programs. These will include some serious platforms and alongside Mazda CX-9. In Europe, where trucks are more popular, the Ford Fusion and its much smaller Mazda 6 station wagon version will be hitting the market. In the UK, the main Ford and Mazda dealers are selling the smaller Focus, which is1.55m away from the 2.0 MPV range.

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