The move comes as Mazda moves to block an all-out attack by Toyota. The Mazda 3 has been number one in local showrooms for the past two years but, as it enters its final months with an all-new model coming in January, the Toyota Corolla is currently leading the chase for top spot in 2013.
Mazda has responded with a $20,490 drive away deal to the end of the financial deal but the company is prepared to go harder, perhaps even with a $19,990 driveway deal. "I'm ruling nothing out. It depends what the opposition does," the newly-appointed managing director of Mazda Australian, Martin Benders, says today. "We'll do whatever the market requires to sell the cars we've got."
Details of the next Mazda3 are under embargo until 4:30am tomorrow but the car is already being set for a number one run in 2014. "It's arguably the most important car in the history of Mazda in Australia. We think it will do the job for us next year," Benders says.
It joins the recently launched mid-sized Mazda6 and heralds another rush of new models that will include a re-born MX-5 sports car, the next baby Mazda2 and other newcomers likely including an SUV to sit below the existing CX-5.
Benders says Mazda has big plans for coming years as it looks to consolidate its current third position overall, behind Toyota and Holden, in the sales rankings. But the Mazda3 is its current focus and he says the company has already ordered the cars to take it through the runout of the existing model in December.
"That should be enough to get us close to holding the crown. But it depends on what the opposition do," he says. "We think it puts us in the frame." But he admits the arrival of the new Mazda3 means there is less pressure to score a hat-trick of number ones with the outgoing car. "I don't think anyone will lose any sleep if we lose it, because we're in the final year with this car. And we have the new model coming in 2014 to reclaim it."
This reporter is on Twitter: @PaulWardGover
7-inch multimedia screen
Expanded connectivity to include email, SMS, and social media
Wheelbase: 2700mm (60mm more)
Width: 1795mm (40mm more)
Height: 1455mm (15mm less)
ENGINES (at launch)
Skyactiv-G 2.0 litre petrol four cylinder 114kW/200Nm
Skyactiv-G 2.5 litre petrol four cylinder 138kW/250Nm