According to a report published by RHB Investment Bank, Bermaz Auto is planning to introduce the CX-8 as well as the refreshed Mazda 6. During the roll-out ceremony of the new CX-5 in Malaysia last year, we were told the seven-seat SUV would be sold in markets outside of Japan, and that Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh, CEO of Bermaz, has expressed interest in the vehicle.

As a recap, the CX-8 is the only seven-seat SUV sold by Mazda in Japan because the CX-9 is not offered there. It measures 4,900 mm long, which is 350 mm more than the CX-5 but 195 mm shorter than the CX-9. It is also narrower than the CX-9 by 129 mm, at 1,840 mm. In terms of wheelbase, it is identical to the CX-9 at 2,930 mm, which exceeds that found in the CX-5 (2,700 mm).

The seven-seat CX-9 is already being sold in Malaysia, so the introduction of the CX-8 is likely to give customers access to a more affordable seven-seat SUV from Mazda. Currently, the CX-9 is priced at RM281k (2WD) and RM297k (4WD), whereas the CX-5 goes for between RM135k and RM176k.

The CX-5 is locally-assembled in Malaysia, while the CX-9 arrives fully imported from Japan. If affordability is the purpose of the CX-8, it would make sense for the seven-seater to follow in the CX-5’s footsteps, and be locally assembled in Kulim as well. The report indicates that it will be available in both CBU and CKD forms.

In Japan, the CX-8 is only available with a 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D turbodiesel engine mated to a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission. The powerplant is identical to the one in the CX-5, although it has been uprated to produce 188 hp and 450 Nm of torque (from 173 hp and 420 Nm). It is not known if any petrol options will be offered for the Malaysian-spec model.

As for the new Mazda 6, the sedan first made its appearance at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show with design as well as powertrain updates. The latter now includes a 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated SkyActiv-G engine, now with cylinder deactivation, as well as the SkyActiv-G 2.5T turbo unit from the CX-9, making 250 hp and 420 Nm. The RHB report says the car is due in sometime in the second quarter, but another analyst report by Kenanga Research gives a third quarter 2018 introduction.

GALLERY: Mazda CX-8 at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

GALLERY: 2018 Mazda 6, US market