Mazda has sadly called time on its midsize saloon in Japan. The ageing 6 is being discontinued in its domestic market where production is set to end in mid-April. If you hurry, there's still time to place an order. Since its launch 22 years ago, the Atenza/6 has accumulated 226,437 sales.

Having been around since 2012, the current generation of the 6 saloon/estate duo was getting up there in years. Its retirement from the Japanese market follows the car's withdrawal from the United States and United Kingdom in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

Just as disappointing is what Mazda intends to do to fill the void left by the 6's demise – which is nothing. The succinct press release talking about the car's exit from Japan speaks of how the CX lineup of crossovers will take over the role. Those of us who still enjoy the good ol' saloons and estates would definitely want a direct replacement. It's especially true considering the Mazda3 is too small and isn't offered as a more practical estate.

In early 2022, Mazda ruled out a next-generation 6 on its new rear-wheel-drive platform. However, that didn't stop Japanese magazines from speculating about a potential fourth-gen model. Best Car said last year the Zoom-Zoom company may have had a change of heart after the positive feedback received for the CX-60 and CX-90. The journalists went as far as to claim a RWD-based 6 had been green-lighted for production.

However, the tone of Mazda's latest press release indicates otherwise. Meanwhile, it's worth noting the 6 isn't dead for good since the car remains in production at factories outside of Japan. However, with assembly ending in the Land of the Rising Sun, it means the vehicle will likely be retired from many international markets that got the Japan-built version.