On the product side, Guyton is confident that the CX-30 is entering the right segment at the right time.
"Although I won't talk about an actual volume figure, I do think there's a substantial step up that can happen with the CX-30," he said. "And the reason I say that is, unlike the Mazda3 coming into a sedan segment that is struggling, the CX-30 comes into a segment that's growing."
With that growth, however, comes new competition.
At the L.A. show, Kia unwrapped the new Seltos crossover as a biggish subcompact with all-wheel drive at a starting price below $22,000, not including shipping. Chevrolet brought its chunky new Trailblazer with a starting price below $20,000, before shipping.
Guyton thinks the CX-30 will stand apart, especially on the upscale trims where Mazda has proved that it can do full-leather, premium interiors with minimalist beauty.
"We think with this product we have tremendous advantages in [noise, vibration and harshness], we've got a very nice package, and we have great performance."
The strategy for the CX-30 is also different from that for the Mazda3, where the brand's intention to appeal to more upscale buyers limited sales at the lower end of the market. "Candidly, the base car is priced above where the volume zone is," Guyton said. The upside was that the car did well in the upper trims, where margins are higher. "We were pleased with that. We were not pleased with the bottom. But we are, with time, adjusting."
Mazda3 sales were down 21 percent through October compared with last year, when the brand was selling the previous model at a lower price.
Overall, Mazda sales were off 10 percent during the first 10 months of the year, to 227,687, with every model in the red. The best performer was the CX-5 compact crossover, with just a 1 percent decrease.
When it goes on sale early next year, the CX-30 will start at $22,945, including shipping. It has the advantages of the company's elegant "Kodo" design and a 186-hp motor, giving it a more premium feel than most competitors. The top Premium trim with awd stickers at $30,645, including shipping.
"It's going to be a very good price," said Guyton. "We had the endorsement from our dealer council, and all the data that we see says that the lineup is just exactly where it needs to be."