Mazda Australia admits the Mazda 3 small car has a fight on its hands to stop the Toyota Corolla from usurping its title as Australia's favourite car this year.

The second-generation Mazda 3 topped Australia’s sales charts in 2011 and 2012, but has slipped behind the Corolla after five months of 2013 (Corolla 16,774 vs Mazda 3 16,405).

Mazda Australia will introduce run-out deals on the outgoing model in the coming months to keep sales ticking over, though as the year continues more and more customers are likely to overlook the old car and hold out for the new one, which launches locally with sedan and hatch body styles in early 2014. (Read our breakout story: 2014 Mazda 3 revealed.)

2012 Toyota Corolla Levin ZR

Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders believes the Mazda 3 is still a chance take out the title for a third straight year based on his knowledge of incoming stock, but insisted no one at the company would be distressed if it was knocked off its mantle this year.

“We have all the cars coming that are going to be coming for this year,” Benders said. “That should be enough to get us close to holding the crown, but it really depends on what the competition does I guess.

“We basically know what we’re getting for the rest of the year. We think it puts us in the frame.

“I don’t think anybody will lose any sleep if we lose it because it is in its final year and we’ve got our launch so early in the calendar year.”

Mazda-3-hatch-11

Regardless of the 2013 result, Benders believes the all-new third-generation Mazda 3 (above) can top the sales charts in its first year on sale in 2014.

“We’re quietly confident that we’ll reclaim it next year with this car… if we do lose it, that is.”

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Mazda 3 sales are down 8.3 per cent so far this year while Corolla sales have increased 10.2 per cent.