By on July 1, 2010

In the first six months of 2009, Mazda sold over 7,000 more vehicles than did Subaru. This year, Subaru’s six month volume is over 10k units higher than Mazda’s. Meanwhile, in a scenario that does not bode well for the forthcoming Mazda2-Fiesta showdown, Ford’s Escape outsold its Mazda Tribute cousin 15 times over. In 2002, for comparison, that ratio was closer to three Escapes for every Tribute sold (145,471 to 44,989). And with a Nagare-saddled Mazda5 replacement waiting in the wings, Mazda isn’t even well positioned to defend the segment it helped define in the US market, just as GM finally starts taking it seriously. Mazda has little room for failure… and plenty of opportunity. There will have to be many more months like this one.

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41 Comments on “Mazda Sales Jump 33 Percent...”


  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    It is really hard to tell from numbers alone because it paralleled with the downfall of the economy, but I’ve got a feeling that Mazda’s troubles started when they decided to beat their cars with the fugly Nagare stick. I’m a three time Mazda owner myself and I was in line to buy a new 3 until they released it. Ugh. I might not be the majority but I can’t be the only one.

    • 0 avatar
      EEGeek

      You’re not. The 3 was on high my list until that goofy grin came out – instant death. I’m normally far more interested in what the inside is like, since that’s where I spend my time driving, but I could not abide the disgust I would feel looking at that car every day.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Seconded. I’ve always liked Mazda, especially the 3, but I couldn’t get past that face.

    • 0 avatar

      As soon as the new 3 came out, I went to test it, I’m driving a 2006 3 hatch that I bought new and love very much.
      The dealer was so nice to give me the car to drive on my own, so I could really feel the car, it was the hatch with the 2.5 liter engine.
      I’m not even talking about the outside, I was very disappointed with the amount of road noise, seems worst, the engine did not feel one bit stronger than my 2.3 liter and it did not feel like it drives better, and after all that, the lowest price for the hatch was over 20k ???
      Why? it is after all a small car, so why up the price?
      Sorry, not for me.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      I don’t own a Mazda 3 hatch, but I have a friend who does. Having driven his car a few times, I think it’s great. Dude’s not even considering another one when his lease is up because of the new front end.

    • 0 avatar
      rx8

      Umm, the Mazda 3 (new model) is Mazda’s largest seller WORLD-Wide, in fact it is VERY close to being Australia’s NO. 1 car for Private Buyers, that is right the ‘new’ Mazda 3 outsells, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, GMH…all of them…In Europe Mazda have had Record Sales, everywhere…the USA is SLOWLY catching up to the rest of the Mazda world. The Mazda 2 is Just “not another small car”, it WON World COTY in 2008, until you drive one you do not know what you are talking about…it should sell Very well in the US “if” people put their stupid styling thoughts aside and DRIVE ONE..they are FUN, FUN, Fun!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @rx8: “it should sell Very well in the US “if” people put their stupid styling thoughts aside and DRIVE ONE..they are FUN, FUN, Fun!”

      I used to say a similar thing about the Pontiac Aztek, if you could look past the styling, the car was very well packaged and easy to use…

      Events have proved otherwise. And it looks like the same fate for the 3, too. Too many people are put off by the “joker” smiling grille.

      A co worker just picked one up last evening, he seems to like the car overall. We’ll see how well it does, as his previous CX5 had some reliability issues.

      I got in it, and was surprised to see how big the car is now, inside and out. Compared to another coworker’s Protege (admittedly 2 genertions older), it’s encroaching upon mid size status.

      I guess that explains why Mazda felt it had to turn the 6 into a land yacht. Or maybe they’re simply trying to keep up with the Jones’ (Honda Accord)…

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      Same for my wife. The only way we might get a Mazda3 now is used. And, I too am a Mazda owner, currently an ’04 Mazda6 that I stll like after all these years.

    • 0 avatar
      rx8

      As you know the American Made (by Ford, Flat Rock) Mazda 6 is LARGER than the Rest of the Worlds Japanese Made smaller Mazda 6, WHY…do I have to SPELL it OUT….becasue Americans are FAT…sorry, pure and simple, NO other Reason, and of course they (Mazda) want to compete with Toyota and Honda, most of Mazda’s issues are at Distribution, MNAO are one of the WORST distributors Mazda has in the World.
      The ESCAPE like the TRIBUTE is a SUV that is OLD…VERY OLD, 10 years old in fact…YUCK!!!Horrible… the Escape is being replaced by Ford later this year I think, and the Tribute will be Finished….Mazda no longer actually wants Ford’s Product.

    • 0 avatar

      Wow, not much love for the 3. I bought a 2010 3s hatch and it has been an excellent car so far. The gas mileage, handling, and practicality make the sh*t eating grin a little easier to live with. I nearly bought a Golf 2.5 which is really a very similar car and identical in price but the 3′s alloy wheels and steering wheel mounted controls gave it the edge. Hub caps in 2010? Come on Volkswagen.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      RX8 –

      I’d say that the size growth of the 6 was more so Mazda could brag about best in class space in ads. Americans of all shapes and sizes by and large still prefer larger cars than Europeans and the Japanese. Also, the new 6 isn’t that big. While in some measurements it may be bigger than an Accord, sit in the driver’s seat of one and it feels much smaller. The way everything is laid out the car just wraps around you, and it is still very nimble and handles well for a family sedan.

      The Tribute and Escape aren’t 10 years old. Yes, the base platform might date back that far, but both were heavily revised by 2009. The suspensions have changed, the engines and transmissions are brand new for ’09, and the styling was evolved to make them look more modern. Mazda still uses a lot of Ford product – all of Mazda’s V6 engines are Ford derived, for example.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    In 2002 Mazda didn’t have the CX-7, which in non-turbo trims prices out well against the Escape, and has styling more in line with what many import buyers are looking for.

    Mazda doesn’t push the Tribute, most dealers don’t carry more than a couple in inventory, it’s an orphan model waiting for inevitable cancellation.

    • 0 avatar
      50merc

      NulloModo, you’re right about the CX-7 competing fairly well on price with the Escape. But when we were shopping, we took a tape measure along and that swoopy styling sacrifices a lot of utility. Also, my wife didn’t like the poor visibility front (where’s the hood?) and rear (the stylists’ ideal must be a DC-3). Interior room suffers from that huge console. So we left the CX-7 to the people who like that sort of thing. The CX-9 was way too expensive.

      We needed something with cargo capacity, so the 3 and 6 were out.

      The Tribute, once one figured out how to price it against a comparable Escape or Mariner, was a candidate despite the black-on-white gauges that bug me. But as you said, limited inventory made it hard to find one with a good color and the right options. (We wound up with an Escape Limited.)

      I couldn’t get my wife to consider a 5 because the looks overall didn’t appeal to her (well, nor to me) and she thought the high mounted garish taillights were horrid.

      I’m afraid there is an organizational sickness in Mazda, and I say that as a longtime fan who bought several new Mazdas over the years. The sickness manifests itself as chronic blundering in styling. Oddball taste and thinking is in control. The “goofy grin” is prime evidence. If I were on Mazda’s board of directors, I would demand to see the data from US focus group research. I’m sure it would indict whoever has been calling the styling shots. My first move would be to replace him/them with people who can design cars that are as practical and handsome as the Subaru Forester or Legacy. A two-wheel drive Forester (for even lower fuel consumption, simpler drive train, lighter weight) would be a great car. I hear Subaru sales are booming.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      50merc –

      Congrats on the Escape purchase, I’m sure you are going to be very happy with it.

      I can’t knock Mazda much for the choice to go swoopy and curvy for the CX-7, when you look at most of the small CUV crowd, that is where they go because that is, for the most part, what sells.

      IMO Mazda’s biggest problems as of late have been due to a lack of focus and a lack of coherent marketing strategy. Any automaker has to make a choice of whether to follow the niche market or go for the mainstream. Going for the mainstream market means accepting certain compromises in your design. Ford, Chevy, Toyota, and Honda all go for the big chunk of market, and design products that will appeal to the greatest number of people. Compare a VW against any of them, and the VW easily has the best interior. Compare the Mazda6 to any of their sedans, and it outhandles them. Compare a Hyundai to any equivalent model, and you get a cheaper price, option for option. In the end it means that the big four will lose sales for those people whose only driving factor in a purchase are what one of the niche brands do better. Those that obsess over interior details will pick up a Jetta or Passat over a Fusion or Camry, those want to carve corners on their way to work will pick up a CX-7 over an Escape or RAV-4, and those whose bottom line is price over quality will drive a Sante Fe over an Edge or Equinox.

      The CX-7 in turbo form is a marvelously fun little CUV. I would never want one of the NA I4 versions, but they sell well, so Mazda can be forgiven for going there I guess. As far as the smiling cars go, most people seem to like that design cue, I know I love it. Mazda should capitalize on that design as well as the ‘fun to drive’ element in the commercials though. Show drivers bombing down curvy backroads in various Mazdas, and have the money shot at the end being those same drivers getting out of their cars with a beaming smile on their face, mimicked by the cars themselves.

      The current styling is playful and fun, which are the elements of the Mazda brand that Mazda needs to be pushing right now. Mazda isn’t going to beat any of the major players in the pleasing everyone category, so they need to focus back on their niche, which is sporty fun to drive cars for not a lot of money, and push it hard so that when those customers come to buy a car the Mazda is the first on the list.

  • avatar
    european

    yes, Mazda had a 33% jump, but…

    whats next for them? i dont see any new upcoming products at all.
    Well ok, Mazda got the new Mazda2 planned for the US, but we
    got it here in Europe already, and its nothing special, really, just another small hatch.

    Similar thing happening at Mitsubishi and Suzuki. Nothing new on
    the horizon. I’m curious to know how they gonna survive the next competitions’ product launches, because Mazda, Mitsubishi & Suzuki will lack any competitive products.

    Will they merge or something to stay “in the game”, coz that would
    be a logical thing to do…

    well, dunno, just some thoughts…

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      What’s next? First the CX5 and Premacy/Mazda 5. Then we’re going to Sky-G and the Sky-D diesels percolate through the Mazda lineup, which will be differentiating factor compared to platform-shared Ford. We should also see a MX-5 redesign in 2011 and a Mazda hybrid in the near future.

  • avatar
    niky

    The Mazda2 is “just” another small hatch, but you forget, the US is starved for small hatches that are nice. All they get is the Fit (which isn’t that small anymore) and the Fiesta (which is yet to come)… otherwise, it’s a sea of Accents, Yarii and Aveos… none of which are particularly appealing.

    The Mazda2 drives a lot like a little MX-5, and should appeal to many young people buying in that segment.

    Hmm. Young people. Buying. Yup, they’re doomed.

    -

    The Tribute is an unfair comparison. It’s a truck-styled crossover. Mazda is not known (well, not renowned) for trucks in the US. Ford is. Thus, Ford pushes the Escape more, Mazda lets the Tribute die off.

    -

    What’s interesting about that jump is the sales are mostly people jumping back into Mazda6s, CX7s and CX9s… now that gas prices and the economy are somewhat stable. I don’t know what that says about Mazda’s buying demographic… but it can’t be good news for when gas spikes again. Especially for the buyers of CX9s… those mothers are thirsty.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    Why has the 6 risen in sales so much? I haven’t seen many around, but people buy new Accords by the dozen, it seems. Is it because of fleet sales?

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    50merc

    I have ti disagree.
    When testing a ton of small CUVs and cars for my daughter when hher Cavalier was no longer tolerated, we spent a lot of time with the Escape.
    She LOVED the looks and most squared CUV.
    She refused to get the CX7 because of it’s racing design.
    However, nobody questioned the driving experience of both.
    The Ford was like driving in a 100mph head wind with really loud cabin noise.
    I actually loved the hybrid, but could not justify the extra 10 years of payments.

    Eventually we chose the Tiguan. Just a better fit for her, but I still pine for the CX7.
    The initial take off lag was the one bothersome item that I think would have gotten to me after a little city drive time.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Hey, what’s with all the gloom with Mazda?
    Enough of the facial 3 slurs. People are buying it.
    The kids love it.
    Finally the 6 is getting some looks from shoppers.
    Mazda is a good, engineered run company that keeps it cost low and its weight down.
    I wish I could!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I don’t think anyone has ill will towards Mazda in general. As a company they are one of the enthusiasts’ darlings. The automotive landscape would be a lot less interesting without Mazda. They singlehandedly held the torch of lightweight roadsters with the Miata, and without Mazda you would have no one to champion the rotary engine. While the styling may rub a few people the wrong way, most of the worry is about their poor sales in recent years.

      The 6 getting more takers is a good thing, but it should still be a lot more. The Mazda6 is every bit as good as the Accord or Camry, and should sell close to those numbers, but it doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Mazda’s great. Never been in a Mazda that I thought was a poor vehicle. (OTOH, I’ve been given Pontiac rentals in recent years where I sat down, laughed, then got out and said to put it simply, “No.”)

      It’s the new styling is just a little…. slack jawed, that’s all.

    • 0 avatar
      rx8

      The ONLY poor sales for Mazda has been the USA, Mazda 3 is also close to #1 car for Canada. The CX-7 this year alone has had a 718% production increase (because of the 2WD 2.5 4cyl), the CX-9 125% Increase, Mazda 6 (Jap,Euro,Asia) 87% Increase, Mazda 3 23%,TOTAL Production out of Japan 76.4% this year, their OS plants up 86%, these are HUGE Numbers for Mazda…many other car makers would love these numbers!!

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve never purchased a car from the same manufacturer twice in a row… but when the time comes to replace my 2006 6S, a Mazda dealership will be the first place I stop. With the exception of a 1985 M-B 300D I owned for an all-too-brief 4 months, I’ve never owned a better all-around car.

      That said, I’m pretty underwhelmed by what I’ve seen in the current Mazda product line. Last Monday I had my 6 in for some minor warranty work, and I took the opportunity to check out a new 6 Grand Touring sedan.

      I’m not impressed with the exterior styling — the RX-8-esque front end doesn’t work on a sedan IMHO — and while the interior was of noticeably finer quality than in my ’06, I felt confined by the taller beltline and intruding center console. I did not test-drive the car (why waste a salesman’s up?) but the consensus among reviewers is the 6 has lost the “tossable” handling I love with my current car. Without that, it’s just another sedan.

      I also sat in a Mazdaspeed 3… which, oddly, didn’t feel quite so cramped to me. That car felt “chintzier” inside, though — when I press a map light button on the overhead console, the entire panel and surrounding headliner should not bend in a half-inch. I don’t care if it’s based on a cheaper compact car — that’s the kind of cheap crap I expect from Government Motors, not an Asian manufacturer (even knowing Mazda isn’t quite to the same level as Honda and Toyota.)

      When the time comes, I’ll give Mazda the first chance to earn my business… but I don’t know if their contemporary products will hold it.

    • 0 avatar
      rx8

      /, I suggest you go and look at “other” car brands as the HIGH Belt Line is there IN ALL New CARS. It is part of this New Design LAW..thanks again to the US Regulators, Just like have you noticed the HUGE and Higher Rear ends…ALL because of the MY 2011 US Rear Collision laws, and You ain’t seen nothing yet.Just remember a car designer has to fit “size” within these Regulations, from 2003 ALL cars have to have 3 inches Clear of Engine with Hood, and 3 inches above Passenger Head for Top Roof/Windscreen Rail, So what do you think this does to car Design, not so bad for Large Cars, but smaller ones lOOk BOxY. A great car company like Mazda don’t want to add weight with MORE Metal, but have to.

    • 0 avatar

      No argument, rx8. I am aware of the new pedestrian impact standards, and the trend towards bunker-style car styling. Some vehicles wear the design language better than the Mazda 6, is all. And I also agree that most of those vehicles are larger cars.

      Which is why, as of now, I don’t plan to get rid of my ’06 any time soon.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    No, Honda has just about the lowest fleet sales of anyone. You see a lot of Accords around because they are the #2 selling sedan, behind the Camry. Despite all the whining about its large size and styling, the Accord remains a favorite with customers looking for resale value, room, steering feel and economy.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I’m just bummed that Mazda decided to limit would be wagon buyers to a CX-7 or a 5. I would have happily stepped up to a 6 wagon, but all 10 of us who wanted such a thing imported would have made each cost 80k.

    Pity that Americans, even in an age when gas is expensive, still prefer sitting high in a trucklet sacrificing emergency handling, space efficiency and gas consumption. Us wagon buyers are an ever shrinking minority.

  • avatar
    SaabKid7

    I convinced my father to purchase a new 3 back in 04′ he ended up loving the car. He bought a 07′ 3s sedan after a tree fell on the 04′. Now we he is looking for a new car. While he feels that the last gen 3 was better looking (who doesn’t) he has test drove a new 3 and liked the car overall. The big thing is that he would like a bigger car, but thenew 6 is just way too big. I feel that Mazda really dropped the ball with the new 6. from a owner perspective the 6 is too big, and unrefined. They should have focused more on refinement, and handling rather that trying to out do the Accord. Mazdas are not ever going too be volume sellers. The old 6 sold pretty well and was a better representation of the Mazda brand. Semmed too sell well too.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Good for Mazda that the increase was not all “3″. The 6 in particular is a nice car that often gets overlooked.

    The problem for Mazda is that it has always been a bit of a niche player, minus the distinctiveness and build quality of, say, Subaru. My mother’s 3 was a great little Japanese BMW, but it was a bit of a gas pig and by year 4 it felt loose and rattly and was showing worrisome signs of rust bubbling. She did not buy another one. If this is the best Mazda on the road – and according to the market it is – then the future is uncertain at best.

    • 0 avatar
      rx8

      What a load of Rubbish, that is why Mazda has ALWAYS been ahead on Customer Quality, over Subaru..WorldWide, ALL cars are MADE the SAME way with VERY Similar Materials, it is how they go together that matters.
      Drive any car over a salt road and they will Rust.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    If Mazda can find a way to get on the cross-shop list of Honda buyers, that alone could make a huge difference. I just replaced my wife’s basket-case Pilot with a CX-9, and it continues to impress with the attention paid to interior details and “surprise and delight” features that long-time Honda buyers like me didn’t even know existed.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    It’s too bad the Miata numbers are so small, although I think they have been trending down for several years now. I still have to think the front end is a factor, styling is absolutely important, especially on a car like this.
    My area dealers never have any in stock, so not sure what is up – can’t sell them if you don’t have them or can’t sell them so they don’t stock them.

    • 0 avatar
      rx8

      “It’s too bad the Miata numbers are so small”, sorry but do you have any idea what you are talking about?, MX-5 or Miata numbers are “Not Small”..it is a 2 SEATER Only, so far 2010 numbers have increased.
      Sales are very much “Seasonal”, 2 seater’s are not bought in WINTER.
      There have been MANY imitators but the MX-5 has survived where the Solstice, SKY (Opel’s) and anything else including the S2000 have gone.

    • 0 avatar
      whynotaztec

      Rx8 – why yes, I do have an idea what I am talking about since you asked. Miata sales were 16k, 15k, and 11k in the US in the last 3 years, and 3k halfway through this year. Less than a thousand units in a month seems small to me. And I don’t recall asking about the Solstice, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      rx8

      And you will also note, that most cars at the end of their Model Life start to slow down in sales, I used the Other brands as an example…look at the Tribute, RX-8, both at the end of their model life, and NEVER Advertised.

  • avatar
    rx8

    http://motoring-news.com/mazda/mazda3-compact-class-winner-on-j-d-power-survey/

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    rx8:

    Is there a reason you are attacking all the posters, even the ones who own and like Mazdas? Are you trolling perhaps?

  • avatar
    niky

    Miata sales are low because the roadster market shrank during the crisis. And yet, like RX8 says… it outlived the Solstice and Sky.

    The larger cabin for the 3 is a good thing… I can’t help but recall how disappointed I was that the first-generation 3 was not really that much larger inside than the Protege (thanks to the C-pillars, rather the opposite).

    They have to make the Mazda6 bigger. The old one was perfect, I agree. Drove like a sports car, incredibly nimble, fantastic steering. But it was a tweener. Tweeners don’t sell very well, and it didn’t. And yet, the new Mazda6, even in porkier US guise, is still lighter than the status quo. (sure, they had to leave out some insulation to make that happen… but hey, it’s a Mazda).

    @RX8: you don’t actually have to answer every single post… just put it all in one post and cite the original posts you’re answering.


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