The cute librarian hiding her rising popularity - Bermaz's Mazda 3 hits highest sales record
Hans · Sep 20, 2023 03:02 PM
The current generation Mazda 3 was first launched in Malaysia in July 2019. Four years on, the BM / BN generation Mazda 3 is now at the midpoint of its model lifecycle. In human terms, the Mazda 3 is in his/her 40s.
Where others become less attractive as they age, the Mazda 3’s timeless design proves that its appeal doesn’t diminish but increases with age.
Based on Mazda distributor Bermaz Motor’s parent company Bermaz Auto’s financial data compiled by RHB Investment, 314 units of Mazda 3 were invoiced in the first quarter of 2023, before growing to 883 units in the second quarter.
This means that total sales for the Mazda 3 in the first half of 2023 totaled 1,197 units – the highest record for the Mazda 3 in Malaysia.
The Mazda CX-5 remains the company’s most popular model, with 3,252 units invoiced in the first 6 months of 2023, followed by 2,600 units of the Mazda CX-30, and 1,340 units of the Mazda CX-8. All three SUVs are locally assembled at the Inokom plant in Kulim, which Bermaz owns 29 percent of.
RHB says the increase in Mazda 3 sales in the last quarter is also due to an increase in allocation of the imported model from Mazda Japan.
However, Mazda dealers will tell you that the Mazda 3 has no real competitor, and it attracts a different group of buyers, a group that doesn’t seek validation from their peers, and they will pay a premium for Mazda’s full-of-emotions craftmanship over the Honda Civic’s more practical and value-for-money attributes.
It’s a real-life manifestation of the left-brain vs right-brain divide.
The Mazda 3 is a piece of sculpted art that moves. It’s never going to make sense if you are to look at it from an accounting perspective.
Meanwhile the Honda Civic is a very competent machine that does nearly everything you expect from a compact family sedan, and more. Two very different cars for two very different groups of buyers, and data shows that neither has any influence on the other.
This is evident by the fact that even with the launch of a younger, new generation Honda Civic, sales of the now 4-years old made-in-Japan (CBU) Mazda 3 - while being only a fraction of the locally-assembled (CKD) Honda Civic – did not slow but instead doubled!
The latest FE generation Honda Civic is newer, faster, cheaper, more spacious but it has literally zero impact on the art-piece of a car Mazda 3, proving that there is no cross-shopping between the two. Those who want a Mazda 3 will buy one anyway regardless of what competitor brands offer, likewise for the more performance- and value-oriented Civic.
Also, the fact that the Mazda 3 is imported also means that supply will always be less than demand, so neither Bermaz nor Mazda is interested in chasing high sales volumes.
The higher range 2.0-litre Mazda 3 (from RM 156,059 to RM 175,059) pretty much sells on its own.
What Bermaz wants to do now is to get more interested buyers to sit inside the entry 1.5-litre variant. We have and we loved it. With a smaller engine, the lighter front-end pays huge dividends in delivering an even more concentrated Jinba Ittai driving experience, and despite being an entry variant, the interior materials and controls still feels much, much more expensive than a BMW 2 Series (some will say "Sacrilegious, how dare you!").
Of course, left-brained folks will nitpick on the Mazda 3 1.5L’s lack of reverse sensor, use of fabric seats and manual air-conditioning on a RM 149,320 car, and they are not wrong. But this is exactly why the CKD Honda Civic exists.
The video below explains why we keep calling the Mazda 3 as moving art. It's an old video, so some of the latest updates rolled out in 2022 is not shown here but key message remains, Car As Art is a genuine Mazda promise. Whether you are willing to pay for art or not is a different topic.
Not all men / women devote their resources to finding a do-it-all and duty-above-all wife-/husband-material partner. Some of us are happy being foolish enough to live a life of passion, even if it means blowing a lot of money. As of June 2023, nearly 1,200 passionate drivers did exactly that this year.