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Mazda led the pack for sales growth among mainstream automakers reporting monthly sales through the first five months of the year, and in doing so, the Japanese brand is outpacing venerable heavyweights, according to stats from GoodCarBadCar. Mazda sales were up 22% through May over this time last year, which bests the increases of Hyundai, Honda, Subaru, Volvo, and Ford, while Toyota sales are down four percent. While there are various factors at play, Mazda’s improved market share could be attributed to some key factors.

1. Mazda sales are impacted by delivering a more premium feel than its rivals

The first reason that could lead to Mazda’s growth, according to stats from GoodCarBadCar, is that while Mazda isn’t a luxury brand, its aspirations to be a premium mainstream manufacturer are evident. Typically, Mazda models have a higher level of refinement, modern styling, leading tech, more upscale materials and superior fit and finish compared to their rivals, while the brand emphasizes driving engagement — all hallmarks of luxury manufacturers.

Neither can it be discounted that Mazda’s modern and minimalistic exterior styling cues are attractive and attention-grabbing while remaining inoffensive to most buyers.

While models from Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, and others can be had in upmarket trims, the cabins of comparable Mazda models generally deliver a step up in overall refinement that separates them from the pack.

2. A continued focus on internal combustion with electrification on the way

The automotive industry at large is rapidly marching toward full electrification either through EVs, hybrids or a combination of both. Mazda, meanwhile, is still putting most of its eggs in the ICE basket while still eyeing an electric future. In doing so, the brand still appeals to those who want a traditional internal combustion model, but the brand’s future lineup shows the automaker is looking to find buyers interested in hybridization as well.

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 is a prime example.

The midsize, three-row CX-90 serves as Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid with an inline-four and electric motor combining for 323 horsepower with a 17.8-kWh battery pack. But buyers can also choose a 3.3-liter turbocharged inline-six with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. A similar setup is commonplace on luxury SUVs from BMW or Mercedes-Benz, again underscoring Mazda’s luxe aspirations. Though the latter setup, the most powerful production engine from the brand, is electrified, the 48-volt system delivers a more traditional experience compared to full hybrids.

The rest of Mazda’s sales lineup — aside from the fully electric and available-only-in-California MX-30 — still relies on internal combustion, and no hybrids are offered yet. That could actually simplify the process for buyers.

For instance, the Toyota RAV4, which competes directly with the CX-5 and CX-50, is available with either a traditional four-cylinder engine or as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid. Some buyers may crave simplicity, and in that regard, the CX-5 and CX-50 offer a much simpler lineup of trims and drivetrains.

3. Mazda models stand out in each of the classes in which they compete


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Mazda’s lineup offers a model for just about all needs. The MX-5 Miata continues to be a blue-collar hero for enthusiasts, the brand still offers those wanting a sedan or hatchback the Mazda3, and the automaker’s SUV lineup runs from the subcompact CX-30 to the three-row CX-90.

Many mainstream automakers still compete in two of these spaces, but what separates Mazda is each of their models is a leader in its segment, adding to the growth in Mazda sales.

The Mazda3 sedan is strong overall choice in the compact sedan segment, and the hatchback version is among a limited number of hatches offered while delivering the same positive attributes as its sedan sibling. The CX-30 is a standout subcompact SUV, the CX-5 with all its trims and CX-50 are strong compact entries, and the CX-90 promises to be a heavy hitter in the ultra-competitive three-row, midsize class.

As such, not only can Mazda provide a model for most buyer’s needs, but regardless of where they land in its lineup, the automaker delivers a strong entry when compared to its rivals.