“The all-new Mazda3 is a fundamental step-change from what we’ve offered in the past. This is not just a replacement model, this is a turning point for the brand,” asserted Mazda UK managing director Jeremy Thomson.
Speaking to AM reporter Jim McGill after a private unveiling of the car in Los Angeles, ahead of its official debut at the LA Auto Show today (November 28), Thomson, who has been with the Japanese brand for 17 years, added: “This is probably the moment of transformation for the business and the outlook for the brand.
“The 2019 Mazda3 is going to move us into new, clear areas of opportunity which exist above mainstream rivals. The quality, design and the technology in our new model clearly differentiates us from what the industry might typically label mainstream.”
The Mazda UK boss is of the profit opportunity presented by the new model – on-sale in the first quarter of 2019 – to the brand’s 129-strong UK dealer network.
Mazda’s new C-segment hatchback is expected to carry a small premium in price over the outgoing model, and Thomson said: “We have a very good working relationship with our network. We’re very focused on ensuring our dealers make money. This car will, of course, contribute to that.”
Thomson revealed that Mazda UK’s YTD network profitability currently stands at 1.35% (and 3.4% for the top 25% of dealers) versus a reported 0.8% average for the industry.
A core model in Mazda’s line-up since it was first launched in 2003, the Mazda3 has sold more than six million units worldwide. Understandably, getting this latest generation right is crucial.
Available as both a five-door hatchback and four-door saloon (the only body panels they share are the windscreen and bonnet), buyers will also have the choice of two Skyactiv-G petrols — a 1.5-litre and 2.0 — plus a 1.8-litre diesel. A six-speed manual or automatic gearbox will also be available.
The Mazda3 will also see the introduction of a revolutionary new petrol engine called Skyactiv-X SPCCI (Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition).
In simple terms it will deliver better initial response, more torque and free-revving performance.
It’s also assisted by the company’s new M Hybrid system, which Mazda claims will deliver petrol-like performance with diesel fuel economy, and lower CO2 emissions.
The new M Hybrid system will also be available for Skyactiv-G engines.
The new Mazda3 range will include an all-wheel drive model, with an upgraded version of Mazda’s i-Activ AWD system working in conjunction with G-Vectoring Control Plus.
At 4,459mm, the hatchback is shorter than its predecessor, but only by 6mm. It’s also 2mm wider, at 1,797mm, and stands 25mm lower in height, measuring 1,440mm.
While Mazda remains tight-lipped on whether the new Mazda3 platform is capable of adopting all-electric or PHEV technology, it’s worth remembering the carmaker has previously stated progressive electrification within its range will begin from 2020.
Before that, Mazda UK will invite its 129 dealer principals to a national event to see the new Mazda3 early in the New Year.
This will be followed by an intensive in-dealer training process which, according to Thomson, will “reach out not just to the sales people, but also the service advisors and everyone who is customer-facing.”
Customers can currently sign-up online on the Mazda.co.uk website to register their interest. The site will turn in to a pre-order website, probably around late February, with first deliveries scheduled for late spring.