Mazda's CX-5 crossover should become the brand's second-best seller when it arrives in March, Mazda's dealer council chairman says.
Michael MacDonald, owner of two Mazda dealerships near Salt Lake City and chairman of the Mazda National Dealer Advisory Council, says Mazda3 or CX-7 owners whose leases are expiring soon are interested in the vehicle.
"Mazda's estimating that it's going to be our No. 2 volume vehicle, and I see it that way as well," MacDonald said. "It's going to fill a volume hole for us because it's going to fit a niche for a high-mileage CUV."
The CX-5 also will have a bundle of technologies -- including a lightweight chassis and frame and more efficient and more powerful powertrains -- that Mazda calls Skyactiv.
The Mazda3 has Skyactiv engines and transmissions. The engines have high compression ratios and direct gasoline injection.
The key to selling the technology to consumers will be sales training that Mazda has recently started for dealers, MacDonald said.
"We've had in-store training where an independent consultant has come in and trained our sales staff about Skyactiv because it has to be explained," MacDonald said.
"You can't look at the car and say, 'Oh, that's Skyactiv.' You have to explain the benefits of the motor, the transmission. It's not just gas mileage. It's a whole engineering philosophy, and that's very important."