Nimble and engineering-minded Mazda is gaining traction as an upscale brand after years of aspiring to attract a more affluent customer.
The new three-row CX-90, which rides on Mazda's rear-drive large crossover platform and offers flexible seating options in a spacious package, is resonating with buyers. Dealers report they have seen an influx of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Acura owners cross-shopping the CX-90.
Mazda also has seen an uptick in market share this year. Through July, the small brand accounted for 2.4 percent of the market, compared with 2.1 percent the same time last year.
The availability of Mazda Financial Services also is yielding positive results. Backed by Toyota Financial Services and put into place in April 2020 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has provided Mazda with a dedicated finance arm, which has proved to be an especially powerful tool during the past year as economic volatility spilled over into the auto industry.