Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why no 3 door?

The Mazda 3 is a fine car, don't get me wrong, but last night when one of them drove by me, I was wondering why is there no 3 door version? I know 5 doors offer more utility, but is the 3 door hatch no longer in fashion? I always though that if you want 4 doors it should have a trunk or be a station wagon. I'm not saying others won't buy it, obviously they do, but is there no place in the lineup for a 3 door?
The Focus built on the same platform is available (anywhere but here) as a 3 door. Does anyone know if the Mazda3 is available globaly as a 3 door? I'll check online and see, but I don't think so. I had read online that the Civic 3 door would not come to the US either, apparently it's going to be limited to the home market and UK.

I prefer 3 doors, they're slightly more sporty than a 4/5 door. When did they become obsolete?


carscomblogger said...

It's not an obsolete thing its a money thing. I think the 2 door works better like with the last gen escort zx2. It was a completely different car than the 4 door and could be marketed differently. The 3 door focus was different from the 4 door sedan but why not move up to the five door (which came later) if you weren't concerned with sport? It would be less for insurance etc. and these cars are sold for the most part as economical beings.

I do not believe any 3 door is sold by mazda globally. The Kabura will be a completely new 3 door/mx-3 type vehicle not on the Mazda3 platform.

NOW the big question is what to do with the new focus if its brought here. One I'd think it would need to be imported unless an american or mexican plant is converted to produce it in NA. Importing would raise the price even more than it would cost now. That would not help its cause here even if Americans are moving towards smaller cars as alternatives. So the time to produce the thing is pushed back even though basically it is a ready to roll car.

Ford would still need a sub-compact then to compete with the Aveo which is doing well.

Big Ford Fan said...

Dave, I can see what you're saying is right, but what if you don't have a 2 door coupe in the line, like the Mazda3 ? The Chevy Cobalt and Honda Civic coupes seem to sell well and are a good alternative to a 3 door hatch. But is insurance really that much of a factor when talking about a 3 door and 5 door hatch? I tend not to think so, and I live in Metro NY where insurance is high. The last gen Escort ZX2 seemed to have been a sales dog, not a sucess on any level. I remember them as being heavily discounted on not a popular car at all. Was it different away from NY?

Your point about the new Focus is excellent, it needs to be built here to keep costs reasonalbe relative to currency fluctuations. That means retooling the existing plants that build the Focus. Since the tools are existing and the process is not new, Ford should be able to do this within 2 months. And as for a small car positioned below the Focus to compete with the Aveo, we both know the answer to that will be building a Fiesta in Mexico.

I may be part of the shrinking percentage of people that prefer a 3 door to a 5 door. But then why the Volvo C30 Audi A3 Golf 3 door etc.... ?

Anonymous said...

Personally if a five door can handle as well as it's 3dr counter parts, I'll take the 5dr. I had a 2002 Mazda Protege5',I am too old to ask some one to climb back in a 3dr when they have a nice door in the 5dr.


ericgp said...


The 4 Door hatch is the single most popular format for a car in Europe and as such, pretty much every auto maker produces that format (at minimal). A 3 door is just icing on the cake, or reserved for the Hot Hatch version of said car.
That being said, I specifically purchased my Optra 5 because it was a 4 door hatch. My old Rally Car had 2 doors, at that was great for what it was, and for when I was younger, but with children involved, four doors makes the difference (and no, I don't want a boot on my car, I've owned saloons and while nice, the utility of a hatch is tops without being so insanely huge as an estate version of the same car.
Also, that being said, the Supermini class cars are almost always 2 door because at 3.7m or less, there's not room for additional doors.


Anonymous said...

Are you in marketing? Have you ever worked in marketing for an auto company? It's all about what market research tells a manufacturer they should concentrate on. Ask yourself why does Ford purposely hold back so many gems from Europe to the US? Remember the Ford Escort RS? It never made it to our shores but I was excited about it back in the nineties. Technically it did through a special importer but the cost was very high to convert the car to US safety standards and here is where lies the most problems for an auto manufacturer in the US. CAFE standards, insurance premiums, NHTSA safety guidelines, etc. Yet the imports seem to beat out the domestics even with these hurdles in place by our wonderful government. You see American auto manufacturers can bring it and they have in small portions but they have alot legacy costs built in that alot of the new domestics don't have like the "UAW", old school "pensions" which is unheard of in modern day companies, and rising health costs. OKay the last one is being shared by all but the domestics can afford it much better because they get alot more from their cars than the domestics. Case in point Toyota sees a higher profit margin from their cars and now trucks than the US auto manufacturers. We don't budge to buy American for reliability issues, or low resale value. Instead we go for what is smart to us. High resale value, excellent body and power train warranty, piece of mind or at least in our minds, i.e. When I say Honda I think practicallity and savings for the long haul. When I see Toyota I think of expensive but worth it. When I see Nissan I think of savings and reliabilty. I know that the American auto manufacturers can do better and I believe that they have but they still got a long way to go with winning consumers for the long haul. I personally am a fan of the Mustang but I can't afford that. I can afford a Focus and the european model would sure be nice to have but of course it's pricing will be higher if hit our shores which is why Ford is holding back until 2009 when the higher price point makes more sense and the tooling expense is less costly. Again we can counter with so why is Mazda getting to sell the chassis under the Mazda 3? Volvo has it as the S40/V50 and Ford is using the Volvo engine over in Europe instead for it's ST version. Some of us don't understand Ford but some of us who get to see the industry close up can understand why they do things the way they do. I don't know when is it that Ford and the others will say the hell with the Unions and the obligations to pay the pensions we're going to build better cars for a whole lot less, but I figured our government bailed out the airline industry I'm just wondering will they do the same for the American auto industry?