Mazda3 extends its winning streak

Joshua Dowling April 03, 2012

Mazda3.

But the Japanese car maker won’t gloat because it doesn’t want a buyer backlash.

First stop: Holden Commodore. Next stop: Ford?

The Mazda3 has cemented its position as Australia’s favourite car, winning the new-car sales race for the first three months of 2012, according to preliminary data.

Now Mazda as a brand is on track to topple its former parent company Ford in the local market and end up third on the podium behind Toyota and Holden.

Having posted its best month on record in March (on the back of all-time best results for January and February) Mazda sold more than 25,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2012, setting it up for an annual tally of 100,000 vehicles.

That figure would likely put Mazda ahead of Ford. The two brands were separated by just 3000 sales last year. But so far this year, Ford is continuing its seven years of sales decline, while Mazda’s results are up 15 per cent.

“We’ve got some pretty good market analysts who think ... another record year is on the cards for us,” says Mazda Australia spokesman Steve Maciver. “We can see the potential, we’ll end up this year in excess of 90,000 ... but 100,000 is not a goal for us.

“We don’t have a war room whereby we go and sit down and say ‘right, we want to sell this [many]’ ... we don’t do any tactical moves to try to beat anyone else. We will sell [how many cars] the market wants.”

The preliminary data shows that the Mazda3’s three-month winning streak puts it comfortably ahead of the competition.

The Mazda3 was the top-selling car last year – ending the Holden Commodore’s 15-year winning streak – but it was beaten by the Toyota Corolla in the last four months of 2011.

While most car makers boast about having a best-selling car in their line-up, Mazda is coy about its success.

It says it won’t boast about it in ad campaigns because it doesn’t want to appear arrogant or too common.

“[Top-selling status] is important to us as a brand but there’s more to Mazda than the Mazda3,” Maciver says. “[Advertising the car’s sales success] is something that’s never been on the radar. It’s not a discussion.

“Rather than Mazda saying ‘we’ve got the number one car’ ... it carries a lot more weight if it’s a personal recommendation from a friend or a work colleague.”

While Toyota and Holden are secure for first and second spots in overall sales, Ford came under threat last year from Japan's Mazda and Korea’s Hyundai.

Ford sold 91,243 cars in 2011, its seventh straight year of decline, and down 32 per cent from a peak of 135,172 sales in 2004.

Mazda sold 88,333 and Hyundai 87,008 cars. Both brands have posted sales growth so far in 2012 while Ford sales have continued to fall.

Official new-car sales figures for March are released at midday April 4, 2012.

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