After two full years (2011 and 2012) as the country's top selling car, the Mazda 3, which is now in run-out, looks set to be beaten by its Toyota small car arch rival for full year 2013 – to September the compact Mazda has recorded 30,781 sales (down 5.1 per cent YTD) versus Toyota Corolla’s 32,039 (up 14.1 per cent over last year).
Speaking at the first Australian drive of the all-new Mazda 3 range, Mazda Australia public relations senior manager Steve Maciver answered the question of whether new Mazda 3 can beat Corolla next year by saying “absolutely”.
“Being number one is not important to us,” he adds.
“In terms of potential for this car, we’ve done some early research as we always do… the research has told us that if anything there’s upselling in this model over the current car.
“Ultimately it will be in the hands of the customers, but we believe there is potential for even further sales in this car.”
Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders added that he is confident that the new small hatch and sedan range can win back the crown even without resorting to sub-$20,000 pricing, further referring to interest from 70,000 potential customers via an online campaign.
“Well, we can be within 2000 [sales] of them [Corolla] in 30,000 [sales] of the old one [and] we’ve never had a response like this [for the new car].
“If you look at what’s $19,990 driveaway at the moment, you’ve got Hyundai – but that’s where they live – you’ve got the old Corolla, not the new Corolla, certainly Volkswagen Golf’s not there. Nissan Pulsar is…
“So if I look at … who’s there and who’s not there, this [new Mazda 3] is not one of those I think.
“When we launch a car that’s got a lot of appeal we don’t even talk about price.”
The current Mazda 3 is in run-out from $19,990 driveaway, a price which has made the entry-level Neo the most popular model in the range, taking the baton from the mid-range Maxx Sport that has long notched up the most sales in the range.
Mazda has also hinted that the Mazda 3 SP25 may no longer be the sub-MPS flagship of the range.
With this new generation introducing auto braking technology, head-up display and internet/app connectivity only in top models, it is believed the range will include a luxury-sports specification called Akera, Atenza, or the Mazda 3’s domestic market name, Axela.
Although the new Mazda 3 will launch locally with 2.0- and 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol models in January or February next year, Mazda says it may add a diesel model to the line-up in the following year or two, potentially as a performance model.