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Apart from confirming the impending arrival of the new Mazda CX-9 and MX-5 RF, official Mazda distributor Bermaz has also affirmed plans to introduce the iconic Soul Red Metallic paint next year as an option its locally-assembled (CKD) models, the Mazda 3 and CX-5 – which were previously not offered with the colour. The 3 last had Soul Red on its palette when it was sold here as a fully-imported (CBU) model.

The reasons for the colours noticeable absence were varied, with paint supplier Nippon Paint’s assistant general manager for industrial use (IU) marketing Ong Eng Keong previously saying that the four-coat finish would have sapped too much productivity at the Inokom plant in Kulim – where Mazdas are assembled in Malaysia – to be viable for local production.

“As far as CKD [assembly] of Mazda is concerned, Soul Red was never a choice for them because of [the colour’s] four-coat system,” he said. “Having to coat four times would mean that you lose half of your productivity, because the car has to go to the oven three times.”

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It seems, however, that Bermaz has managed to work around these issues, with a new paint shop being built at the Kulim plant specifically for Mazda vehicles. To facilitate the construction, Mazda production will be halted temporarily, and test runs of the new Soul Red hue will commence soon after its completion, before the colour is rolled out.

As usual, Soul Red Metallic will come as a cost option separate from other, more conventional colours. Although the exact premium has yet to have been finalised, expect it to be priced around the same as on certain CBU models like the Mazda 2 – around RM500.