Mazda becomes a personalized brand | Automotive News
Mazda is truly a different car maker. This small Japanese brand, currently ranked 16e globally with only 2% market share, has a history rooted in engineering, design and even racing with a victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
From the rotary-engined Mazda Cosmos in the 1960s to the stunning RX-7 in the early 1980s and then to the formidable and acclaimed Miata, the Hiroshima-based company has grown into an international sensation with a solid reputation in markets like the United States. ‘Australia, UK, Germany, Italy and of course North America. In fact, Mazda has design and R&D centers in several countries around the world.
Independent Mazda becomes a personalized brand
Since leaving the Blue Oval in 2010, Mazda has experienced something of a rebirth. While the company consistently sticks to its “Zoom-Zoom” philosophy where driving is really important, its marketing focus has shifted to the overall customer experience.
To give you an idea, many Mazda employees have been trained by the Disney Institute, renowned for its expertise in customer satisfaction. Additionally, George P Johnson, a leading marketing agency, has been commissioned to design their new booth at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. Mazda employees are fully aware that customers should interact with its products and feel like they really care about the brand.
When it comes to sponsorship, Mazda has targeted the tennis world, serving as Canada’s official Rogers Cup car, as well as outdoor sports like snowboarding and kayaking. It wants to get closer to its direct audience, namely sporty and educated consumers looking for attention to detail and pleasant driving. Let’s not forget the Mazda Miata racing series and the large number of owner clubs hosting various events.
Interesting collection of models
Mazda takes pride in reviewing its current portfolio. With the launch of the completely redesigned Mazda CX-9 last year, every model in the lineup is fresh and exciting, something we don’t see very often in such a rapidly changing market.
On the one hand, you have cars like the Mazda3, Mazda6, MX-5, and the new MX-5 RF (Retractable Fastback). On the other hand, you will find a trio of utility vehicles including the CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9. The latter group is proving to be more popular among buyers right now, following the SUV trend across the auto industry.
Yet with several accolades to its name and nearly 480,000 units sold (for a total of 5 million worldwide to date), the little Mazda3 deserves great praise and attention.
The new and updated 2017 Mazda3
Before going any further, let’s remember that the Mazda3 has always been one of our favorites here at Auto123.com thanks to its overall design and driving dynamics. Along with the Volkswagen Golf and the Honda Civic, this is easily one of the best compact cars available.
In order to remain a leader in the segment (one of the most competitive in the automotive industry), Mazda has slightly revised the styling for 2017, especially the grille and the rear end. The top-of-the-line GT model also receives new 18-inch alloy wheels. In addition, three new colors have been added: Machine Gray Metallic, Eternal Blue Mica and Sonic Silver Metallic.
The interior has also been slightly refreshed and offers a more refined selection of materials. A new electronic parking brake frees up space on the center console. Four adults can comfortably enjoy the ride, while trunk capacity is average at best, in both the 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback sedan.
Outstanding on the road
The 2017 Mazda3 is a lot of fun, whether it’s around town, on the highway, or spending some quality time on a small twisty road. The ride is solid and well balanced with precise handling as the suspension is tuned for performance and comfort in almost equal measures. Mazda engineers also corrected a previous shortcoming by significantly improving sound insulation.
While unchanged for 2017, both versions of the SKYACTIV engine technology under the hood suit the Mazda3 well, delivering spirited acceleration and excellent fuel economy (average 6-7 L / 100 km) at a time when many other automakers are turning to hybrids and / or electric vehicles to go green. In addition, the manual and automatic transmissions (the latter with Sport mode) work wonderfully.
Of course, the biggest novelty could be the G vector control, the first in a series of new SKYACTIV Vehicle Dynamics technologies. It maximizes the vertical load on the front wheels when approaching a bend by inducing a slight deceleration which results in a step forward (longitudinal g-force). This gives more grip to the front tires and allows the car to go through the corners more easily, as you can see in the photo below. When exiting the turn, weight returns to the rear axle, stabilizing the car.
In our test drive of the 2017 Mazda3 with standard G vector control, we noticed a remarkable improvement in ride quality and handling. Everything seemed smoother and easier. This car will definitely remain a benchmark in terms of driving dynamics. The brakes are the only thing I would like to touch on as they are a bit lacking in power and endurance.
The company knows all too well how important value is in the compact segment, which is why the new Mazda3 starts at $ 15,900 despite offering more features than its predecessor. The GT model is also down $ 1,250 to $ 24,000. This is backed by one of the best warranties in the business: full 3 year / unlimited km new vehicle coverage, 3 years roadside assistance, 5 years powertrain coverage and 7 years puncture proof coverage.
Without a doubt, the 2017 Mazda3 is a car that all compact sedan buyers should consider. In fact, every product in the current line is worth considering. Mazda is certainly on the right track, and even if it doesn’t show up in the sales charts, the company manages to stand out with good products and a great customer experience, a great recipe for building brand loyalty.
One more thing: Mazda has no intention of launching more luxurious and expensive models, or becoming a generic brand for that matter. Rather, it aims to appeal to sophisticated, trendy and affluent consumers with products specially designed for them. Don’t be surprised if Mazda steals some customers from Volkswagen, MINI and even some entry-level luxury cars.
Oh, and by the way, don’t miss the introduction of the all-new Mazda CX-5 on Wednesday!