Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders today announced the addition of rear parking sensors across the Mazda 3 petrol range as part of a 2015 pricing and specification update, but was dismissive when asked why Mazda didn’t think a reverse-view camera was a necessary safety feature in the entry Neo variant.
“I don’t see the driveway as being a place where kids should be walking around in the first place,” Benders started.
“I expect that people who drive cars take care and attention about how they drive their cars. Reversing cameras are not infallible, they’re more an aid, but so are reverse parking sensors, they will pick up obstacles in a similar way. It’s like a lot of the safety equipment in there, it’s there as an aid. It doesn’t take away the driver’s responsibility to take care and attention.
“If we think that that’s what we need to do then we’ve got a real problem because I think I’ve made the comment before, but we’ve become so focused on giving [people] too much assistance that we’re actually taking their mind off actually paying attention to the way they drive.
“We’ve just got to be careful about all that.”
Benders said he felt the decision not to include a reverse-view camera in the Mazda 3 Neo was justified because few Neo customers had demanded one.
“It might surprise you but I don’t have a string of customer comments or complaints saying, ‘Where’s my reversing camera?’” he said.
“We think that reverse parking sensors do the job and we think … the car offers a good package.
“Why don’t we have this, that, or the other piece of equipment? Everybody chooses what they think works for their customers and they work it out accordingly. I can keep adding things ad infinitum but the price will go up ultimately.”
Mazda 3 customers are required to spend at least $22,390 plus on-road costs on the second-tier Maxx variant to get a large display screen with a reverse-view camera, or $24,390 with an automatic transmission as is the overwhelming preference in Australia.
Oddly, Toyota’s entry-level Corolla Ascent hatchback also misses out on a reverse-view camera. Customers are required to step up to the Ascent Sport, which is priced from $20,490 (ironically the same price as the Mazda 3 Neo) in hatchback guise. However, the Corolla sedan comes with a reverse-view camera and front and rear parking sensors as standard across the range as part of a recent update.
The Mazda 3 Neo accounts for roughly 20 per cent of Mazda 3 sales in Australia, translating to approximately 8600 vehicles last year.