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2020 new-car sales: New Mazda 3 falls out of top-10 best-selling models in February

The Mazda3 has had a rough start to the year on the sales chart.

Back in 2011 and 2012, the Mazda3 small car was the most popular new model in Australia, but in 2020, it’s not close to reaching the same heights again.

In fact, such is the recent decline of the Mazda3, it fell out of the monthly top-10 best-selling new models for the first time in recent memory last month (note: detailed VFACTS sales data supplied to the media goes back as far as 2008).

Considering a new-generation Mazda3 progressively launched during the second quarter of 2019, most pundits would’ve expected the hatch and sedan to shows signs of improvement, even in a market that’s now declined for 23 consecutive months.

Of course, we now know that wasn’t the case. Why? Well, the Mazda3’s cost of entry went up by $4500 following its generational changeover, primarily due to a stark increase in base specification, which was aimed at private buyers.

And as we reported earlier this week, the hatch and sedan’s pricing has subsequently risen by $600 range-wide, partly due to exchange-rate pressures.

Despite all of this, Mazda Australia boss Vinesh Bhindi recently told CarsGuide the Mazda3 has still turned in a relatively strong performance.

“The Mazda3 is still performing well in its segment, among private buyers,” he said. “With many customers moving towards SUVs, we think Mazda3’s natural sales are around the 1300-1400 per month mark.”

Looking at the Mazda3’s sales in February provides the best indication yet of this new reality, with it shedding nearly half (49.6%) of its volume month-on-month.

That said, the Mazda3’s 1435 sales last month were enough to secure 11th position, and just 10 units separated it from ninth, the Toyota Camry mid-size sedan (1445, +11.3% month-on-month). The Nissan X-Trail mid-size SUV (1439, +1.3%) was 10th.

The Mazda3’s main foe, the Toyota Corolla, sold 2520 units (+21.7% month-on-month) in February, helping it claim fourth place, while the rivalling Hyundai i30 (2152, +11.6%) and Kia Cerato (1873, +20.6%) finished in fifth and seventh respectively.

For reference, the Toyota HiLux ute (3421 sales, -22.8% month-on-month) paced the market once again last month.