The Mazda3, marketed in Japan as the Axela, comes as a compact car with high-performance options. It's a sedan with sports car pretensions but has a price tag low enough to attract young buyers and families. Its strong international sales in Europe, the Middle East and Canada ensure a long life.
Mazda Motor Corporation sells more than 300,000 Mazda3 cars a year and can be characterized as the young brother of the Mazda6 mid-size sedan. The Mazda3 started production in 2004.
The Mazda3 is an example of Japanese automakers placing high-performance components into a low-priced compact car.
Mazda management developed the Mazda3 to replace its Familia, or 323 series, which debuted in 1964 and did not age well when it ended production in 2003.
Mazda3 models were pared down from the four versions of the 323s to just the five-door hatchback and the four-door sedan.
Mazda developed the sportier Mazda3 to ensure its survival with a high-volume car through the ongoing economic turbulence of the 21st century, ultimately producing 920,000 since its inception.
As a fuel economy measure the second generation model's engine cuts out when the vehicle comes to a complete stop and restarts when the brake pedal is released.