Mazda goes for emotional appeal for sedan lovers

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Mazda says the Mazda3 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, right, is an evolution of its Kodo design philosophy, where elegance is expressed through clean designs. Mazda uses terms like & # 39; Japanese mastery & # 39; to describe premium accents to the interior, below.

LOS ANGELES – Mazda does not see the declining sedan market as an excuse to become complacent about its cars. In fact, it sees this as the perfect moment to raise the bar with an artistic approach to design that improves part of their emotional appeal.

Mazda says the recently unpacked Mazda3, shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show, represents an evolution of its Kodo design philosophy. The new Kodo language wants to express elegance through clean designs that take into account how light and reflections move across a vehicle. Both sedan and hatchback have smoother surfaces and fewer wrinkles than previous generations. Mazda also uses terms like & # 39; Japanese mastery & # 39; to describe the premium influences on the interior.

"We believe that a customer who loves driving also likes sedans," said Masahiro Moro, CEO of Mazda North American Operations. "A sedan can offer significant emotional value and driving pleasure Mazda is not a big company, but we're happy to serve those specific consumers who love to ride sedans or hatchbacks."

The Mazda3 will also lead the next phase of Mazda's "Feel Alive" marketing campaign, which began in April. Mazda has seen an increase of about 3 percent in its Google searches since the launch of the campaign, while price inquiries on its site have increased by 50 percent, said Dino Bernacchi, chief marketing officer of Mazda's North American unit.

Bernacchi believes Mazda is on the radar of more consumers with a message that resonates.

The messages are applied to a sector that Mazda has not driven before: electrified vehicles. Mazda's timeline requires a battery-electric vehicle in 2020 and a plug-in hybrid that could appear in 2021.

Marketing philosophy

But Bernacchi does not see these additions in the Mazda marketing philosophy, which has traditionally mentioned the spirited internal combustion engines as fun to drive.

"I think having a diverse portfolio of capabilities in our line-up only adds to what we can do," Bernacchi Automotive News told at the Los Angeles show. "One of the things that our engineers do better and more than anyone else, we do not design to a specification, we engineer ourselves to a feeling, they want to maximize what the feeling is of those future EVs and hybrids."

Mazda is also preparing to launch a new cross-over within a few years. It is tailor-made for the US, which, according to Moro, is remarkable because Mazda usually develops vehicles based on global demand.

It will be built in a factory in Huntsville, Ala., Shared with Toyota, with a capacity of 150,000 crossovers per year, plus Corolla cars for Toyota.

Although Moro could not comment on where the crossover is placed in the line-up, he said he was looking for & # 39; mainstream area & # 39 ;, so that we can capitalize [on] that capacity as much as we can. "