TORONTO -- Mazda Canada is proving the adage "if you build it, they will come." At least if "it" is a compact car with some flair, and the buyers you want to attract are Canadian.
The success of the new Mazda3 compact sedan and hatchback has led to five back-to-back months of sales gains this year and the best year-to-date improvement of any automaker in Canada. The Mazda3 also is snapping at the wheels of the perennial top seller, the Honda Civic. The Mazda3 also is increasing showroom traffic.
When May results were tallied, in a market hit by climbing gasoline and insurance prices, overall Canadian sales fell 11.0 percent. Only five of 24 brands saw a sales increase. But Mazda numbers were up 21.1 percent from May 2003 levels, and volume for the year was 23.9 percent ahead.
The Mazda3 has scored a bull's-eye in compact cars. That segment accounts for 47 percent of Canadian car sales and 26 of the overall market (vs. 13 percent in the United States), says consultant Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. in Toronto.
"It's the perfect size for Canada, competitively priced, well-equipped," says DesRosiers. "It's a good-looking car, and it's captured the imagination of Canadians."