As reported earlier, Bermaz Auto is expected to launch the seven-seater Mazda CX-8 sometime next month. The model will be locally-assembled at the Mazda Malaysia plant in Kulim. The plant is 30 percent owned by Bermaz Auto, with the rest owned by Mazda Motor Corporation.
We can now confirm that the Kulim-assembled CX-8 is not only be sold domestically, but will also be exported to the Philippines, where Bermaz Auto’s subsidiary Bermaz Auto Philippines is also the authorized distributor.
Exports to other markets including Indonesia and Thailand is also possible but yet to be confirmed.
To recap, Mazda Malaysia already exports the Mazda CX-5 to the Philippines and Thailand.
The forthcoming CX-8 is positioned between the CX-5 and the flagship CX-9. Globally, the model can be configured either as a six- or a seven-seater, the former features two individual seats in the middle row.
From the outside, it’s quite hard to tell the CX-8 apart from a CX-9, because that’s the original intention of the car. The CX-8 was originally meant only for Japan, which taxes cars based on body size and the American market-focused CX-9 is deemed to be too big for Japanese roads.
In Japan, the CX-8 serves as the flagship since the CX-9 is not offered there. However, it didn’t take long before several key markets in the Australasia region raised their hands wanting to place orders for the car, as there is currently a huge price gap between the CX-5 and the CX-9.
In Malaysia, there is a near-RM 100k gap between the most expensive CX-5 and the lowest specifications CX-9.
Specifications for Malaysia-market CX-8 will only be confirmed in October. The default engine is a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol that pushes out 192 hp and 257 Nm, although a 2.2-litre turbo diesel might also be offered.
Compared to the CX-9, the CX-8 is 175 mm shorter, 129 mm narrower and 17 mm lower. However because the CX-8’s roofline doesn’t taper off in the rear as sharply as the CX-9, it is the CX-8 that has better headroom in the third row seats. Legroom of course, isn’t as good as the longer CX-9.