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Next Mazda3 to get NVH lift

Number one: The Mazda3 might not recapture the top spot in the overall sales race this year, but the company is confident it will be its best-selling model for some time to come.

Updates to CX-9 to filter down to next-gen Mazda models, including Mazda3

Mazda logo1 Aug 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

THE dramatic improvements to the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels of the second-generation Mazda CX-9 SUV will flow to other models, including the next-generation Mazda3 small car.

Mazda’s latest CX-9 launched last month and introduced a number of measures to lower NHV levels, including adding 24kg of insulation between the floor and carpet compared to 7.5kg, a thicker floorpan, improved panel gaps, better sealing, greater aerodynamic capability, a more rigid steering column and acoustic glass for the windscreen and side windows.

While it is unclear what the next-gen Mazda3 – thought to be due in 2018 or 2019 – will get in terms of NVH improvements, Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak confirmed that the changes to the CX-9 would filter down to other new-gen models in time.

“I think the areas you see in that car (CX-9), the improvements, the things that people are talking about are things we will introduce on all new models,” he said.

“People always say, ‘what is the best Mazda, what is the best car?’ To me it is always the next one. And that (CX-9) is the next one and that is the best one.

So I would hope the next car (new-generation Mazda model) would have a similar big improvement.”

Mr Doak said development timelines and schedules dictated that the CX-9 could not launch with its new G-Vectoring Control torque vectoring system, which instead made its Australian debut on the refreshed Mazda3 range, but that the big seven-seater would eventually be offered with the technology.

While premium European brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz chase new segments with niche offerings such as four-door coupes and small wagons spun off from small-car platforms, Mr Doak said Mazda was unlikely to follow suit with the next-gen Mazda3, brushing aside the possibility of a Mazda3 wagon or coupe variant.

“It is certainly not something we are asking for. You could argue we have got (a wagon) – would you call CX-3 a wagon? But it’s an SUV, and that’s the hottest kind of segment. We have got something in the small-SUV range, so for us, we are covering all of the markets we need to with what we have got.”

While Mazda Australia managing director has recently said that the Mazda3 would not be the sales leader in the small-car segment this year, conceding that Toyota’s Corolla or the Hyundai i30 would beat it, Mr Doak said that he believed the 3 would “absolutely” remain Mazda’s top-selling model Down Under for some time to come.

He added that he was not concerned about new rivals entering the hotly contested segment and that the focus was on continually improving the product offering.

“There’s always new rivals. Nothing changes. If you spend all of your time worrying about what the new rival is going to be you will end up with corporate paralysis. We keep moving along, we keep improving our product, we keep talking … our R&D guys and that means they come out and we have discussions we talk to them all the time about how we can improve and I think we have got a reasonable track record of doing that.”

Mazda has sold 20,088 Mazda3s to the end of June this year, a slight 1.7 per cent dip over the same period in 2015, but enough to keep it well ahead of the CX-5 mid-size SUV that is in second spot with 12,593 sales and the instantly popular CX-3 crossover that is in third with 9372.

In the sub-$40,000 small-car segment, Hyundai’s i30 has leapt to the front of the pack this year with 22,857 sales, helped along by an aggressive $19,990 driveaway pricetag for the Active auto for several months of the year, while the Corolla is in third, and just behind the 3, with 20,544.

The Corolla has been the top-selling car in the country for the past three years running, but the Mazda3 was Australia’s favourite in 2011 and 2012.

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