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Mazda MAZDA6, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon
#2217 of 2394 Mazda6 - Reasons why it isn't selling....
Jan 09, 2011 (12:58 am)
The poor sales of the Mazda6 has been the subject of extensive discussion on a Mazda3 Owner/Enthusiast site that I visit regularly. There have been a lot of reasons suggested and some make more sense than others. But before I get into those, here are a few links to stories praising the Mazda6 and also pondering why it isn't selling-
Popular Mechanics did a comparison test of all the major players (Camry, Accord, Altima, Malibu, Fusion, Subaru Legacy, Mazda6) and the Suzuki Kizashi was also included, but hardly a major player by any stretch. The Mazda6 came out on top of all the others!
Here's what they had to say about it-
"It's rare when exceptional cars remain largely undiscovered. But that's the case with the Mazda6. And it's astounding considering that this is the best all-around sedan."
All reviews of the car by major automotive media sources have praised the car with few, if any, misgivings. Consumer Reports gave it their "GOOD BET" seal of approval. The only complaint most of them could muster is that the fuel economy isn't quite as good as the class leaders. CR's real-world fuel economy testing shows that the i Sport 5AT averaged 24mpg overall in real-world conditions, which puts it 2mpg behind Camry and Altima and 3mpg behind the Sonata. But the Ford Fusion with the same engine and 6AT matches the Mazda6 at 24mpg, despite having an extra gear and slower acceleration (the latter due to 'economy' gearing). The 2009 Accord LX-P 5AT was at the back of the pack, only getting 23mpg under the same conditions!
For 2011, the Mazda6 fuel economy ratings have been increased by 1mpg for all three engine/transmission combos for both city and highway ratings. The only exception is the V6 s models, which get a 2mpg boost on the highway to 27mpg. Maybe this will put an end to any complaints about fuel economy vs. the competition.
With all the accolades from so many respected sources, the Mazda6 should be selling at triple the current rate (around 100k per year, instead of the current 35k). 2009 sales didn't reach the 35k mark, with 34,866 sold. What gives?
1) Marketing- it's already been mentioned that Mazda hasn't done nearly enough to make the Mazda6 visible and put it in front of potential buyers who don't even know it exists! There has been some discussion about whether the single-numeral nomenclature only adds to the anonymity problem....would an actual name boost brand/model recognition at all? In Japan, the Mazda6 is known as the Mazda Atenza and the Mazda3 is the Mazda Axela....there may be some truth to that, but it's is hardly one of primary factors in the car's poor sales...
2) Dealership Network- Mazda has one of the most limited dealer networks in the country. There are also significant mid-size cities (500k+ population) where every brand of car is sold except Mazda (and Suzuki, but that hardly counts). Chattanooga, TN is one such market, with a population of 550k+ in the metro are. Montgomery, AL is another example with a population of just over 500k. The nearest Mazda dealer is 80 miles away in Birmingham! Incidentally, Montgomery is also where the Hyundai Sonata is manufactured. Here in the Atlanta area, we have six Mazda dealers serving a metro population exceeding SIX MILLION! We have just as many Mitsubishi dealers and KIA has several more than Mazda.
With such limited visibility and inadequate coverage of all geographic areas, the low sales figures aren't so surprising. The Mazda6 isn't on the radar of most mid-size sedan shoppers and the vast majority don't even know that it exists! Among those who are familiar with the Mazda6, how many choose another brand because there is no Mazda dealership nearby in case they need warranty repairs or service???
3) Quality of Dealership- Simply stated, most Mazda dealers SUCK!!! The number of complaints and horror stories from customers (and lost customers) are significantly disproportionate to others based on the limited number of dealerships. Every Mazda enthusiast site that I've seen is full of customer accounts of horrible sales practices, pathetic service after the sale and warranty claims that turned into mortal combat before they were finally paid! The Mazda6 ranks lower than most competitors in Consumer Reports' Owner Satisfaction rating, but the car itself isn't the problem at all. The vast majority of dissatisfied customers noted a poor sales experience, lack of customer service and/or difficulty with warranty repairs as the problem- not the vehicle!
As the owner of a Mazda3 for the last five years, I have had several unpleasant experiences with Mazda dealers, each with a different one. It started when I was trying to buy my car at a local Atlanta dealership and it turned into the one of worst experiences of my life! The salesman put his 4-square worksheet in front of me with a price only $200 below sticker. My response was, "I'm not interested in buying the car unless we can get the price quite a bit lower". His response blew me away, "Well, then you need to go somewhere else!" I think the black marks are still on the parking lot where I smoke the tires of my Grand Cherokee to make it clear how angry I was. Within two minutes, the sales manager called and said he wanted to find a way to salvage the sale. I told him that I would drop dead before I'd ever give them my business. Suddenly, he started hurling insults at me because of a six year old bankruptcy on my credit report (despite the fact that I had worked my way back to a FICO score in the 720s at that time). It devolved from there but I spent the next six months filing complaints at every consumer organization and website to share my hellish experience!
I ended up soliciting quotes from every dealer with 250 miles with the specific car I wanted in stock. Mazda Knoxville, in Knoxville, TN, gave me the best quote and I traveled over 200 miles each way to pick it up. In stark contrast to the horrible earlier experience I had in Atlanta, Mazda Knoxville made the entire process very easy, quick and painless! When I buy my next Mazda, they will be the first call I make. =)
My car never had to return to a dealer during the first two years and almost 50k miles. Even my previous Hondas had minor warranty repairs needed in the first year or so, but not my Mazda. Then at 49,200 miles, the engine needed to be replaced due to a bad connecting rod. I provided all my service records which showed oil changes usually done about 6,000 miles apart, but never more than 7,500 miles (the owner's manual specified that oil changes were required every 7,500 miles). But the dealer tried to deny the warranty repair originally, saying I failed to change the oil enough!!! I shoved the o
#2218 of 2394 Re: 2010 i GT auto with Tech Pkg. [jeffyscott]
Jan 09, 2011 (2:00 am)
Well, you do get a 5/10 year warranty with Kia. I think/hope they have come a long way since the days of the Sephia, etc. I drove an Optima from 2 generations back, as a rental car for a week once and it was terrible.
Agree with you on the looks. Kia is making some nice looking (to me) cars. Both the Optima and Forte look good and better to me than the Mazda3 and Mazda6. I guess they would be described as having European styling, while Mazda has gone to more Japanese styling in this generation after having had European looks in the 2003-2008 Mazda6.
KIA has made massive improvements over the last decade or so. Their transformation into a respectable automaker building high quality, well-designed vehicles is second only to Hyundai's similar growth and success! And Hyundai is largely responsible for the positive changes at KIA.
They have the product, the quality and the high-value position, the only obstacle remaining is the stigma still attached to the brand from their earlier days in the U.S. A lot of people still perceive them as "cheap" cars and won't even consider them. It's just a matter of time, if they keep turning out good product, they'll lose the 'cheap' stigma just like Hyundai has done! Based on Hyundai's earlier products here, I never would have dreamed that they'd be producing everything from RWD sport coupes to class-leading mid-size sedans, not to mention luxury cars that should have Lexus very concerned!
I agree that KIA has some great looking cars- the Forte 4-door was the first one to really grab my attention, followed by the new Sorento, Optima and Sportage! The Soul was kinda cool for a little while, but it still looks far better than the Nissan Cube or (dead) Honda Element. Once they redesign/replace the current Rio (and do something about the Sedona minivan, which is homely looking even for a minivan), they will may have more great-looking designs than any other single manufacturer! I must admit that I'm a bit disappointed with the Forte 5-door. I have an '06 Mazda3 5-door and my next vehicle will most likely be another 5-door, probably a Mazda but it's always good to have options. I hope the Hyundai Elantra Touring, due in early 2012, will be more appealing to me than the Forte. They're ditching the wagon style and going for a sportier 5-door hatchback look.
I think my first generation Mazda3 is a much better design than the current model. I parked my 5-door next to a brand new 5-door a while back and the current model really looked like a step backward...mine has a much more fluid lines and a flowing, graceful yet sporty overall look. I am very anxious to see how the face-lifted 2012 Mazda3 turns out! I mean, it really can't get much worse...but then again, face lifts can go horribly wrong (two words- Joan Rivers)! Even with the crazy-grin, joker-smile front end, I still like the Mazda3 5-door a lot better than the Forte 5-door. I also think the Mazda6 is still the best looking design in the mid-size segment, with Suzuki Kizashi second and new Kia Optima right behind it.
I really hope the new Optima is the sales success that the Sonata has been. I would love to see a sales increase for the Mazda6, but I doubt the Optima will steal too many of the limited few who buy the Mazda6. Actually, I was very fond of the previous Optima (2006.5-2010), but I'm one of the very few. Somehow, despite the Hyundai Sonata's success during the same years, the Optima was invisible to retail customers with (rental) fleet sales keeping it afloat. My first exposure to it was as a rental car in 2007. I was in Phoenx for work and the Enterprise only had Sebring sedans available when I arrived. I drove it for less than a day before I called back to see if they could swap it out for ANYTHING else...but preferably not a Toyota (yuck). The manager said it would be a downgrade but he had a Kia Optima on the lot. The remaining four days were a pleasure and I was very impressed. I always asked for an Optima, Sonata or Mazda3/6 after that...and NO CHRYSLER vehicles!
The upside (for used car buyers) of the previous Optima's anonymity and high fleet sales is worst-in-class depreciation. Most who bought a new 2009 are most likely still 'upside down' in their loans, thanks to the car depreciating faster than the payments! So they are dirt cheap as used cars....then again, so is the Mazda6!
#2219 of 2394 Let's focus on actual Prices Paid
by kyfdx@Edmunds HOST
Jan 09, 2011 (8:23 am)
While this is interesting, this isn't a Kia vs. Mazda thread... and, marketing aside, this discussion exists so members can compare prices.
#2220 of 2394 Re: Mazda6 - Reasons why it isn't selling.... [igozoomzoom]
Jan 09, 2011 (9:45 am)
Excellent post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
#2221 of 2394 Re: 2010 i GT auto with Tech Pkg. [glayfan40]
Feb 10, 2011 (1:25 pm)
Looks like a great deal to me. Actually, it's almost mission impossible to find a 6i GT anywhere. It seems that the bulk of the sales are the base model.
#2222 of 2394 Re: 2010 i GT auto with Tech Pkg. [azorglub]
Feb 10, 2011 (1:40 pm)
My 2010 Mazda 6i GT now has 16, 000 miles on it and is still tight, quiet, and luxurious. You could not find a nicer car anywhere, or I would of bought it.
I drove them all, could afford any of them, but the 6i still will beat them in any venue you want to compare.
And it still smells and looks like a new car.
#2223 of 2394 Snatched the last 2010 6i GT
Feb 13, 2011 (7:38 pm)
with Tech and Navigation package for $23.5k before taxes. I'm happy with the car. It has all the bells and whistles one could ask for. It's comfy, and handles well. The engine is not great, but at least, it'll keep my tendencies in check. Gotta say: why can't they make a hatchback. It's so much more practical.
Feb 25, 2011 (7:28 pm)
We just bought a Mazda 6S Touring Plus from Malloy Mazda in Woodbridge, VA.
Net Cap Cost: $22,649.
Lease: 42 months
Money factor: .0014
Monthly payment: 299.
The people at the dealership treated my three young children with kind tolerance and my husband and me with patience and respect.
#2225 of 2394 MAZDA 6 S GRAND TOURING TECH & NAV
Mar 31, 2011 (7:58 pm)
32500 WITH FLOOR MATS & SPLASH GUARDS WHITE WITH BEIGE INTERIOR IN PHILLY PA AREA. DO YOU THINK THIS A ALRIGHT DEAL. NOT TO MANY 6S'S AROUND
#2226 of 2394 Re: MAZDA 6 S GRAND TOURING TECH & NAV [mjm19]
Apr 01, 2011 (4:09 am)
What extras missing?
If loaded total. this is a buy.