Strange Times in the EV World: Has Mazda Just Started a Price War in Colombia?

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As I was scrolling through social media a couple of days ago, an ad caught my eye. It was promoting the electric version of the Mazda CX-30, a car that has seen nearly no sales pretty much everywhere because, well, it’s quite expensive and offers a paltry 220 km (137 mile) range. Mazda has been able to sell a few of them here — 69 year to date, to be precise — probably thanks to the close relationship that the brand has with the Colombian people, who still remember the locally produced, widely loved Mazda 323 and 626. Many families (including mine) owned those Mazdas in the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s … but it’s a fact by now that the car just can’t compete with similar offers in the market.

The CX-30 is widely believed to be a compliance vehicle, not meant for mass production, only for selling enough vehicles to comply with strict regulations in some markets (such as California). This is why it surprised me that it arrived in Colombia … and that, apparently, Mazda is going all in to make the vehicle competitive in the local market!

As of today, the Mazda CX-30 Electric is the cheapest electric SUV in Colombia.

Undercutting the competition

When it first arrived in the country, the Mazda CX-30 Electric had a cost of $202’000.000 COP ($47,000). It was only slightly cheaper than the Chevrolet Bolt and more expensive than the BYD Yuan Plus. At this price, it was hard for the vehicle to compete, given the fact that it had half the range of either of these options.

Things got worse throughout the year, as competition became more intense, cheaper options arrived, and month after month, Mazda’s EV sales started to shrink (reaching 0 in September). This is perhaps why Mazda’s local distributor, Alciautos, decided to go all in and offer a staggering 25% discount, pricing the CX-30 Electric at 149’990.000 COP ($35,000) and making it the cheapest electric SUV in the country, even below the MG ZS EV and the Dongfeng SERES 3 ($37,200) as well as the JAC E40X ($38,500). Of course, all these vehicles have larger batteries and better range, but none of them has local recognition, and this could be a boost for Mazda’s sales.

Now, is Mazda only clearing inventory? Or is there any chance this will be a long-term strategy to sell at least more than a token number? I don’t know, but one can hope that the cheaper prices are here to stay, and if this is the case, the Mazda CX-30 Electric may have just become a viable competitor in Colombia’s EV market.

This is something I would’ve never guessed.

It remains to be seen if other brands will find Mazda’s aggressive pricing a threat and will respond in kind (such as what happened in Costa Rica with the Geometry E), or if it will be a short-term strategy to clear inventory and things will return to normal after a couple of weeks. I’m cheering for the first option.

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Juan Diego Celemín Mojica

Passionate for all things Latin American, I’ve been closely following the energy and mobility transitions since they started to become present south of the equator.

Juan Diego Celemín Mojica has 23 posts and counting. See all posts by Juan Diego Celemín Mojica