Automakers are stepping up their marketing on gaming platforms where they can reach younger buyers contemplating their first new vehicle.
Mazda used to be known for its zippy small cars such as the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback, which offered cheap thrills and some high-tech touches even in the 1980s when it was called the 323. But Mazda is changing and needs product to match its move into the diffuse auto space known as premium (but not luxury).
Thanks to Mitsubishi's tie-up with the Renault-Nissan Alliance three years ago, the junior member of the group is getting access to world-class automotive platforms that will transform the Mitsubishi brand.
The Mazda3 is a meticulously engineered vehicle, for sure. But perhaps less successfully engineered was the timing of the vehicle's launch, since the compact sedan and hatchback are the first ground-up vehicles designed around Mazda's aspiration to become a more premium brand.
Mazda's tie-up with Toyota Financial Services beginning in April will have a more immediate impact on Mazda dealers in the United States than the automakers' manufacturing partnerships.
Kia is amid a five-year plan to launch more than 20 new or updated vehicles. The new Telluride three-row crossover went on sale this year, and the Seltos small crossover could be just around the corner.
Having cracked the quality code, Hyundai, Kia and Genesis are rolling out vehicles as part of a planned product offensive, from crossovers to hatchbacks, electric vehicles and even perhaps a pickup.
By the time the luxury brand has a standalone dealership network in 2022 or thereafter — rather than using select Hyundai dealerships — it's likely to have three sedans and as many as three crossovers.
If the only thing that can keep the brand above water in the current climate is new and freshened models, so be it. There's more to come.