2014 Mazda 3: Americans Like Sedans
March 26, 2014
Behold. The empty cargo bay of the 2014 Mazda 3 S. I loaded a shallow cabinet about three feet tall, six cardboard boxes full of books, and a handful of other loose knickknacks in here earlier. You didn't want to see the photo. Seriously. Looked like I was living out of the car.
When I finally cleared the hold, I stood back and stared. I decided a wagon/hatchback/truck bed will always have a place in my life. They will be a prerequisite before any coupes or roadsters are considered. They just make too much sense.
Yet apparently I'm in the minority of American buyers, as you have to constantly badger automakers about why they don't offer hatch/wagon versions of popular two- and four-door models, models usually offered in other countries. The Mazda 6 sport wagon, which looks like a larger, even more useful Mazda 3, comes to mind.
Low volume, they say. Cost too much to certify. Americans like crossovers and we, the automaker, like crossover profit. Hatchbacks enjoy more success than wagons obviously, but it appears that many Americans can't do without a trunk, a rear shelf or at least an elevated ride height.
Consider a recent report that shows Mazda 3 sales sliding every month since August. The report concludes that sales aren't falling to Golfs, Elantra GTs or Ford Focus hatches, for example. That would at least suggest a demand for hatchbacks and that perhaps the Mazda 3 just doesn't measure up. But instead, 3 sales are falling to Civics and Corollas — Sedans! — as part of an incentive game that Mazda says it won't join.
The Mazda 3 S has 47.1 cubic-feet back there. That was plenty for my short-notice, quick-grab errand. It would likely cover 80 percent of my other daily needs. So why are wagon/hatches slow sellers? What's your take?
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor