Mazda Motor Corp. has set its highest ever target for the Mazda3 compact car of 500,000 units worldwide, according to Chief Executive Officer Masamichi Kogai. The Mazda3, the automaker’s best-selling model, is also known as Axela in Japan. Last year, it made up about 30 percent of Mazda's global sales of 1.25 million vehicles.
Of this figure, approximately 40 percent of the Mazda3 vehicles were sold in North America, which is the biggest market of the company. At a news conference, Managing Executive Officer Masahiro Moro introduced the Mazda3 for the domestic market and told reporters that the company has to meet this target as it attempts to reach sales of 1.7 million vehicles set in its mid-term plan.
The Mazda3 rivals popular vehicles in the C segment like Volkswagen AG's Golf and Ford Motor Co.'s Focus. Mazda has made a full introduction of its fuel-efficient, profitable Skyactiv technology in the redesigned Mazda3. The vehicle started selling last September in the U.S. and it is set to be available in Europe this month. It will go on sale this November in Japan.
For the first time, Mazda offers a gas-electric hybrid model that uses Toyota Motor Corp.'s hybrid technology, aside from gasoline and diesel powertrains. Kogai said that the hybrid model will only be available in Japan. Mazda seeks to sell about 60,000 Mazda3 a year in Europe and will offer both gasoline and diesel models. Meanwhile, just the gasoline powertrain is offered in North America.
In June, Mazda unveiled the 2014 Mazda3, which now incorporates the ‘Kodo – Soul of Motion’ design language. Compared to its predecessor, the 2014 Mazda3 5 mm longer, 40 mm wider and 20 mm taller, thanks to its dimensions of 4,465 mm in length, 1,795 mm in width and 1,450 mm in height.
Since the 2014 Mazda3 rides a wheelbase of 2,700 mm, which is 60 mm longer than on the outgoing version, its boot’s capacity improved from 340 liters to 350 liters.
The 2014 Mazda3 will be initially offered with a choice of three high-compression SkyActiv petrol variants and one diesel engine. A new 1.5-liter petrol engine is available, providing 111 hp of max output and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. This version sprints from nil to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 10.8 seconds and goes as fast as 113 mph (182 km/h).
A 2.0-liter petrol engine will also be available in two flavors. The first one delivers up to 118 hp of output and 155 lb.-ft. of torque, while the other one provides up to 162 hp of output. The 2.2-liter diesel engine, meanwhile, is tuned to deliver 148 hp of max output and 280 lb.-ft. of peak torque.