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Mazda sees decent sales in America. But while the Japanese carmaker is successful, it’s not in the same league as giants like Toyota and Ford. Not every manufacturer needs to compete for the title of most popular in the USA, but that doesn’t mean automakers aren’t trying. Here are a few reasons why, despite making well-designed cars, Mazda isn’t more popular in America.

Mazda makes good cars, but they don’t outsell their top rivals

The CX-5 is a top seller for the brand, so why isn't Mazda more popular?
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda North American Operations

Mazda has seven models in its 2023 lineup. Most are high-quality vehicles that experts and owners praise. The only exception might be the MX-30, an electric crossover Mazda sells in low volumes in California, so this EV isn’t on most Americans’ radar.

However, the CX-5 compact SUV is a prime example of the perfection Mazda pursues. This well-balanced crossover provides almost everything drivers could want in a vehicle. Unsurprisingly, the CX-5 routinely scores well in reviews, and it’s the most popular model in Mazda’s lineup.

Still, other comparable SUVs, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, outsell the CX-5.

The second best-selling Mazda is the CX-30. Although this subcompact SUV sees decent sales, it also takes a back seat to more popular rivals the Honda HR-V and Ford Edge.

The Zoom-Zoom automaker’s other vehicles are in a similar zone of selling well enough to stay alive, but they’re all being outsold by their segment competitors.

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 Premium has an elegant interior, so why are Mazda cars not more popular?
2024 Mazda CX-90 | Mazda

In March, Vehicle Freak mentioned several reasons why Mazda might not be more popular in America. However, many of those reasons no longer apply because the automaker recently addressed them. For example, the site noted the brand’s lack of a competitive midsize or full-size SUV. But Mazda recently unleashed the CX-90, a capable full-size SUV.

However, Vehicle Freak’s other explanations are reasonable. One of the most significant reasons Mazda isn’t more popular in America is that it lacks brand awareness. That means most car shoppers aren’t familiar with or ignore Mazda’s lineup. So because fewer consumers drive Mazda vehicles, fewer people tell their friends and families about the brand.

In addition, Mazda’s rivals have been advertising in the United States for a longer time, establishing them as more popular options.

On top of that, another problem could be the segment in which the company has positioned itself. Mazda isn’t a luxury car brand, but its models are more upscale than economy cars. So it sits in a murky area occupied by premium brands like Buick, Chrysler, and GMC. That also means Mazda vehicles can cost more than mainstream cars.

Popularity should not discourage car shoppers from considering a Mazda

Though consumers might want to follow the crowd, they shouldn’t ignore Mazda when car shopping. Most Mazda models on dealership lots are good cars, on par with — or even better than — Toyota, Honda, and Ford vehicles.

Plus, some Mazdas stand out in their segment. One shining example is the Miata, one of the best affordable sports cars. So despite Mazda’s lack of popularity, shoppers should still give the brand a chance.