Spoiler Alert: It wasn't the Miata.
2019 should have been a great year for Mazda. With a completely refreshed, next-generation Mazda3 and a new crossover called the CX-30, there is no reason why Mazda's sales shouldn't have increased in 2019. Sadly, this was not the case. Mazda finished the year strong with 26,491 vehicles sold in December, which was an increase of 2.4 percent compared to December 2018 (even with one less selling day).
But the Japanese automaker only managed to sell 278,552 vehicles in 2019, which was down 7.2 percent from the 300,325 vehicles it sold in 2018. And it isn't difficult to see why Mazda sold fewer cars in 2019. Every model except the CX-5 (and the all-new CX-30) saw a decrease in sales from the year before.
Automakers typically see declines in sales as models progress through their lifecycles but even the newly-introduced Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback posted losses. Mazda sold 50,741 units of the Mazda3 (down 21.5 percent) despite the model being all-new for 2019. The Mazda6 saw an even larger decrease with 21,524 units sold (down 30.4 percent). Mazda managed to sell 7,753 units of the Miata (down 13.6 percent) despite declining sales for sports cars across the industry.
More alarmingly for Mazda, the CX-3 posted a small sales loss of 16,229 units (down four percent) while the CX-9 sold 26,861 units (down 4.9 percent). The CX-3 may have dropped slightly due to the introduction of the sub-compact CX-30, which is larger and more premium feeling. Mazda only managed to sell 899 units of the CX-30 in 2019, but the model only went on sale in November. 2020 will show if the CX-30 will cannibalize CX-3 sales.
The CX-5 was Mazda's lone bright spot with sales of 154,545 units sold in 2019 (up 2.6 percent). This has been Mazda's best-selling model for a few years now and it is the only vehicle in the lineup to post a sales increase last year. We were so enamored with the 2019 CX-5 that we made it our People's Car of 2019 but Mazda will need to update it soon to keep this momentum up.