The Mazda Bump: What a Difference a '0' Makes

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the mazda bump what a difference a 8216 0 makes

June auto sales in the hard-hit U.S. new vehicle market were nowhere near normal for this time of the year, down an estimated 25 percent below levels seen last June. An improvement from May, yes, but far from a return to normal.

Unless, of course, you’re Mazda.

The pandemic-era trend we detailed not long ago continued in June for the scrappy little automaker, with an unlikely product proving unusually popular and a much newer product doing exactly what its creators intended.

That first vehicle is the beloved MX-5 Miata. In June, Miata sales rose 27.3 percent, year over year, earning the fun roadster a 10.4-percent year-to-date sales gain in the industry’s worst sales year since the Great Recession. Maybe buyers are realizing they might now have forever to cross a certain item off their bucket list. Who knows.

The latter model is the new-for-2020 CX-30, a tweener model slotting between the tiny, weak-performing CX-3 and the brand’s sales star, the CX-5. The CX-30 is a strategic model, and it quickly proved its worth. In June, the CX-30 was Mazda’s second-best selling model, ahead of even the affordable, diverse 3 sedan and hatch. The brand sold three-and-a-half times more CX-30s than CX-3s.

Interestingly, June’s CX-30 volume of 3,526 units was within spitting distance of May’s 3,583 sales. That’s a pretty stable product in a depressed market.

And the good news for Mazda doesn’t end there. The range-topping CX-9, like in May, garnered more buyers than in the same month a year prior. CX-9 sales rose nearly 49 percent, year over year, last month. Year to date, the model’s volume is up 13.3 percent.

All of this conspired to boost Mazda’s overall volume by 10.9 percent for the month, with yearly sales thus far now down 7 percent (an improvement from May’s 10.5-percent YTD decline). The automaker’s sitting pretty compared to its larger rivals, though things aren’t entirely rosy.

Mazda’s passenger car lineup continues to contract, despite the best efforts of many people to improve the 3 and 6’s appeal. Perhaps all the 3 needs to regain momentum is a turbocharger. Doubtful. An expected swap to rear-drive and inline-six power will only make the 6 even more of a desirable rarity, this writer (sadly) predicts. The CX-3 subcompact CUV? That micro-mobile is living on borrowed time, with sales barely in the four-figure arena.

And yet a potential savior looms on the horizon in the form of a U.S.-built midsize CUV arising from a still unfinished Alabama assembly plant.

[Images: Mazda]

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  • 22_RE_Speedwagon 22_RE_Speedwagon on Jul 06, 2020

    I got an email about a $750 loyalty rebate the other day and it at least got me thinking, what does Mazda currently sell that I want? Not much into crossovers. Nothing they sell can match the practicality of my 5. A modern-day RX-7/8 or a revamp of the mazdaspeed6 (with a more reliable engine) is all that comes to mind. Maybe the new 6 will do it. Bring back the MPV!

    • Slavuta Slavuta on Jul 07, 2020

      Few months back email came with $1500 Loyalty. That did not get you thinking? $750 is their standard fare. Good morning

  • Chocolatedeath Chocolatedeath on Jul 06, 2020

    I am glad for them. As the owner of a 2008 CX9 I decided against getting another CUV instead I got a semi lux sedan. Dont get me wrong I would have bought another one but the current one disappointed me by going only 4 cylinder and actually getting smaller than its predecessor. I was able to rent on for two week and it drove nice and was much quieter, better mpg, rode better and was a better overall package than the one I have. Hell even Consumer Reports likes it more than the Pilot. I just wish Mazda had to funds to invest in a higher geared autonomic and to add that X stuff to a V6. Maybe since they are going rear wheel drive they will get the other stuff I want it to have. In three years when I am ready for another car I will give them another look,

  • Wjtinfwb Over the years I've owned 3, one LH (a Concorde) a Gen 1 300 and a Gen 2 300C "John Varvatos". The Concorde was a very nice car for the time with immense room inside and decent power from the DOHC 3.5L. But quality was awful, it spent more time in the shop than the driveway. It gave way to a Gen 1 300, OK but the V6 was underwhelming in this car compared to the Concorde but did it's job. The Gen 1's letdown was the awful interior with acres of plastic, leather that did it's best imitation of vinyl and a featureless dashboard that looked lifted from a cheaper car. My last one was a '14 300C John Varvatos with the Pentastar. Great car, sufficient power and exceptional highway mileage. The interior was much better than the original as well. It was felled by a defective instrument cluster that took over 90 days to fix and was ultimately lemon law' d back to FCA. I'd love one of the 392 powered final edition 300s but understand they're already sold out and if I had an extra 60k available, would likely choose a CPO BMW 540i for comparable money.
  • Dukeisduke Thanks Cary. Folks need to make sure they buy the correct antifreeze, since there are so many OEM-specific ones out there nowadays (Dex-Cool, Ford gold, Toyota red and pink, etc.).And sorry to hear about your family situation - my wife and I have been dealing with her 88-yo mom, moving her into independent senior living, selling her house, etc. It's a lot to deal with.
  • FreedMike Always lusted after that first-gen 300 - particularly the "Heritage Edition," which had special 300 badging and a translucent plastic steering wheel (ala the '50s and '60s "letter cars").
  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.