By on July 6, 2020

2020 Mazda CX-30 grey front - Image: Mazda

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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15 Comments on “The Mazda Bump: What a Difference a ‘0’ Makes...”

  • avatar

    The MX-5 sales bump can likely be traced to the release of the “ND2” car for 2019, with another 26 hp and a telescoping wheel.

  • avatar

    It sure seems like their strategy of being halfway between a RAV4/CRV and a Lexus NX/Acura RDX is working out pretty well for them.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know if prospective CUV buyers base much of their decision on the test drive, but the difference in handling and precision which Mazda focus on, becomes more obvious when comparing CUVs, than when cross shopping fundamentally better handling platforms like sedans.

      A 6 may still ultimately drive “better” than a CamCord, but the difference isn’t all that obvious anymore. Yet going from a Hilot to a CX-9, is night and day.

      • 0 avatar

        Coming from a General Motors family, I remember the term “CamCord” came from a group of brainwashed “American” car fans who couldn’t understand why the Lumina or Taurus, being so superior to an Accord or Camry were losing in sales and comparison tests. They would scratch their butts and after a long while came up with the term “CamCord.”
        When the superior 97′ Chevrolet Malibu came out, they were so elated to have something they could call the “Bu.”

        I sure do miss those General Motors days when they built the best and greatest Luminas, Centurys, etc.

        • 0 avatar

          I think you mean the 2007 Malibu (not the 1997).

          It was an excellent car, I agree. Better than the CamCords? That’s hard to say–and the same is true of the reverse. It depends what one valued.

          I can say, from my personal experience, even Toyota or Honda would have been very pleased with the level of quality, reliability, and durability of my Malibu, at least for the first 100k miles (I sold it shortly after that).

  • avatar

    Good for Mazda, I guess. They’ve sold an additional 400 cars year-over-year for a 10% increase for a model (MX-5) that sold 7753 units total in 2019 and and additional 209 cars more in June 2020 than June 2019 (966 vs 759). Stellar performance for a very niche-market car. Keeping things in perspective, if a manufacturer sells 210 units of a model one month and then sells 270 units in the same month of the next year, that’s a 22% increase in sales for that particular month. Huge percentages look great when based upon small volumes. I sure things will get even better with more of Mazda’s might-be-coming, we’re-working-toward-it vehicle offerings which may (or, may not) be on the horizon.

    • 0 avatar


      Mazda sold 13,242 CX-5s in June of 2019 and sold 12,501 in June of 2020 (-5.3%) in a world where car sales in general are down 30%. They are doing very well.

      • 0 avatar

        The article was pointing out the MX-5 as a big win, not the CX-5 which lost volume -“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.”. The CX-5 is the only vehicle keeping Mazda breathing and it lost sales volume albeit less than the industry average. Still a niche-brand with niche vehicles and niche-brand sales volumes.

        • 0 avatar

          What’s your problem with niche brands? They sells a fine automobile. What’s wrong with that?

          • 0 avatar

            Nothing really wrong with them. They are, IMHO, a vastly overrated niche brand that many rave about, that pretends to be entry-level lux, but no one more than 10 miles from a Mazda dealership seems to buy. My problem with this post about Mazda’s, as with most here on The Truth About Mazda’s, is hoo-rahh’ing a minimal increase in sales for a very small volume “niche model” of a fading volume “niche brand” that promises great things in a future that never comes for them and continues to underperform in the US market place. Mazda’s volume is that 75% they sell outside the US market as econoboxes. While they may be considered by some as a “fine automobile” they are no more than econoboxes fitted with $400 worth of entry-lux trim and electronic do-dahs being sold for ridiculously high prices in the US.

          • 0 avatar

            ” no one more than 10 miles from a Mazda dealership seems to buy”

            Lol, you can always tell when you’re getting close to a Mazda dealership when you see 3-5 per mile as opposed to 1 or 2

  • avatar

    2020 CX-30 Premium AWD comes in at a bit over $30K. Not bad

  • avatar

    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!

  • avatar

    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,

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