• Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
  • Image Credit: Jeffrey N. Ross
UPDATE: We've updated this post to include quotes and information from Eric Booth, Senior Manager of Public Relations at Mazda USA.

Like just about every other auto publication we've seen, we loved the way the Mazda3 drove when we reviewed it a few months ago, but those glowing reviews apparently aren't helping its sales. The new compact may be falling victim to a sales war between the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, with the newcomer getting squeezed out by those with more established names and bigger marketing budgets.

According to Automotive News, Mazda3 sales have fallen every month since last August, and its sales are down 27 percent in the first two months of 2014. It certainly isn't helping that the entire compact segment is down five percent this year as well.

The biggest problem for the new model seems to be its price compared to rivals. Mazda is not offering the incentives that are on the hood of competitors. With the previous generation, the company offered more than $2,700 on the hood to move them out, but the current model only carries about $1,233 in markdowns, according to AN. "We are not chasing sales volume; we are chasing profit," says Eric Booth, Senior Manager of Public Relations at Mazda USA.

There is hope on the horizon, though. Mazda's factory in Mexico will build 10,000 Mazda3s a month by June. "The Mexican plant will help Mazda profitability," said industry analyst Stephanie Brinley of IHS Automotive to Autoblog. Also, keep in mind that the automaker has about half as many dealers as Toyota or Honda. Brinley said that the 3 doesn't have to match the volume of the Corolla to be a success, but it "doesn't want to get lost in the noise," she said.

If the Mazda wants the 3 to keep up, it will need to find a way to either price the car more competitively or show customers why it's worth the extra cash over the Corolla and Civic. It's quite a challenge.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 214 Comments
      ken
      • 1 Year Ago
      CX-5 stole the thunder off Mazda 3.
      Storm Invictus
      • 1 Year Ago
      I find this article very interesting, because I've been traveling extensively recently, and I saw no less than seven of the new 3 sedans and five of the hatches in Seattle and Portland while on vacation here for the last week. And I've seen about six or seven tooling around in my current city of Lincoln, Nebraska, which is not exactly a highly import friendly place. The point is that the brainless sheeple will continue to buy their bland Corollas/Elantras/Civics/Cruzes, those who want a blend of comfort and fun will buy Focus's, and the enthusiasts who care about a premium driving experience will buy 3's. Mazda will never be a Number 1 sales leader, and that's just fine.
      Smooth Motor
      • 1 Year Ago
      This car is just too expensive against its competition. The ones I've seen all sticker at 24-25K. That's D segment pricing.
      UnderdogSupporter
      • 1 Year Ago
      To be honest, the commercial's for the car have not been that great either.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's a nice car in person. If Mazda wants to be rigid in pricing, in a segment that's all about deals and discounts, good luck.
      John
      • 1 Year Ago
      People squawking that they styling is the issue are off-base. It looks good and at the very least better than some in the segment (Corolla). What's holding it back is the new, higher price point, and if you look at CX-5 sales, you see where the customers are going instead. That model sold over 9300 last month, its best month ever, and this for a vehicle that has been on sale for a few years with minimal changes. When you can get a CX-5, which has fantastic driving dynamics, for a small jump over the smaller 3, it seems like a great value. If Mazda tinkers with the pricing and option mixes on the 3, they'll see the sales jump up.
      Hazdaz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't underestimate the importance of having good dealers. You can find Toyota, Honda and Ford dealers everywhere around here, but the Mazda dealers are few and far between. If someone isn't completely sold on getting a 3, then having to drive 2X as far could turn a lot of people off. People tend to keep in mind that their vehicle will need service at some point, so having one far away Mazda dealer in a region could be enough to have someone choose a different brand of vehicle altogether.
        Bexly
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hazdaz
        Probably has something to do with those three selling 10x as many vehicles.
        ack154
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hazdaz
        Before I bought my WRX, I drove an extra hour (on top of an initial 45 min) to check out a MS3 at the nearest Mazda dealer. I walked in and saw just a couple sales people either talking to customers or walking around. NO ONE said a word to me. I was standing there (and pacing) for a good 20 minutes, trying to be patient. Not a single word. Not a "we're a bit busy but will be with you as soon as we can..." or anything. I left. Never even touched a MS3.
          ihatemacs9
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ack154
          i had the same experience when i went to look at a WRX at a Subaru dealer. best i got after 15 minutes of asking for help was an Impreza brochure and a lame excuse, "We can't offer you a test drive because Subaru buyers like low miles on their cars." 1 anecdote is not representative of the whole picture.
      Vwfanatic
      • 1 Year Ago
      "We are not chasing sales volume; we are chasing profit," says Eric Booth, Senior Manager of Public Relations at Mazda USA. Sounds like Mazda is chasing it's own tail.... Profits only come from making sales!
        Max
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vwfanatic
        Only if those sales are profitable. Marking the car down to so little margin that you'd have to sell twice as many to make the same amount would likely lead to higher sales but a lower overall profit.
      bonehead
      • 1 Year Ago
      The problem i see is that the Mazda 3 can get too expensive. I saw one on display at the local dealership for over $30k. I think they may be scaring off less educated buyers by displaying the fully loaded models. But they also have to compete with brand loyalty from honda and toyota. But honestly ive seen few of these on the road so far (especially the hatch) and once they are around more i think the general public will be more aware.
        Phontsolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bonehead
        That's your problem right there, "less educated buyers."
          TheSTIG
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Phontsolo
          I would be confident that the average subaru owner is more formally educated than the average mazda owner (primary vehicle, not those that have a miata they auto-x on the weekends).
          kcroc10077
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Phontsolo
          30k+ for a Mazda 3 is crazy. That's GTI, GLI, Focus ST, WRX, etc money (and you'll probably get some cash back). It seems like the three is a deal on the more basic models. When the price starts climbing between 25-30k there are better options.
      Hello
      • 1 Year Ago
      We are shopping for my wife's next car and pretty much decided on the 3, went to look at it at the dealership and the 6 is just way too big and we prefer the 3's interior. We don't like the fact that to get all the electronics and the big wheels you have to spend $25k, there should be a middle ground, maybe a car with 17" wheels and cloth seats and the 7" screen entertaining system for maybe $22k. 16" wheels are too small and $25k is too much. S touring model in black is what we will be getting soon, hopefully we can negotiate it down to about $24k
        David
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hello
        Have you checked out the Kia Forte or Forte5? You should! Sounds like exactly what you're looking for, feature-for-feature and at or below your price-point. It's seriously impressive!
          David
          • 1 Year Ago
          @David
          Read or watch the reviews. Not a single bad one for the Forte, and the handling is quite good. Is it as good as the Mazda3s? Perhaps not, but it's close. On balance, if handling is ALL you care about, then go Mazda, perhaps. I made a list of all the creature comforts and other attributes I'd have to give up on if I went Mazda3, and it was long! Ultimately, I said, "screw that!" and went with the Forte5 SX. Mazda needs to rework its packaging!
          David
          • 1 Year Ago
          @David
          http://motoringtv.com/video/test-drive-2014-kia-forte5-sx/
          davido
          • 1 Year Ago
          @David
          It is impressive unless you place any value on ride and handling. I just leased a 3 and am paying a premium to do so. I did it because it's a fantastic car and I decided in effect to treat myself this time around. Had I been shopping more on price and still wanted a car that rides well, I'd be in a Cruze.
          David
          • 1 Year Ago
          @David
          Nope. Just a consumer who was very let-down by the Mazda3, and went for an alternative. Just sharing my experience.
        Greg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hello
        You know, wheels are replaceable and aren't exactly expensive (unless you want the OEMs). You can pick up the i Touring with tech package for $22 MSRP and buy a nice set of wheels separately (and sell your take-offs to make it even more affordable). Personally, if I got one of the s trims (that come with the 18" wheels), I'd pull them off and grab a set of the 16s because they'll give a better ride. Large wheels are like high heels--sure they look good, but they make everything else worse. And I prefer black wheels, so you don't really notice their size against the tires, anyway.
      Evan Wolf Brom
      • 1 Year Ago
      The car may be great but look at the pricing, it starts close to 22k for the 5 door then once you option it up you are in the territory of some much higher up car classes.
      strykerzzzz
      • 1 Year Ago
      I look at Mazda buyers as being in one of two camps - those who buy a fairly sporty car at a reasonable price and those who buy the car because they are discounted and cheap. Well, Mazda wants to move away from the discounted and cheap camp, so we'll just have to see how the sales react to it. In the end, they may sell fewer cars, but have better profit margins, especially with them being made in Mexico.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @strykerzzzz
        "Mazda wants to move away from the discounted and cheap camp" You made a good point there. Ultimately it's better for the brand to get away from that bottom-feeder image. They have world class products. They don't have to cater to the bottom-feeders any more.
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