Mazda has recorded its 16th consecutive quarter of growth in Europe. The Japanese carmaker managed a slight year-on-year increase in passenger car sales between July and September to just under 61,000 units. Turnover of its popular SUVs – particularly the Mazda CX-3 – bolstered the performance of the company, which held a 1.7% share of the European market during the period*.

Portugal led among national markets, posting 47% sales growth during the quarter on the strength of the CX-3 and Mazda3, followed by Italy, up 32% on robust demand across the carmaker’s model line-up. Mazda also saw double-digit gains in France (+14%) and Poland (+11%) as well as several smaller markets including Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and Slovenia. Germany and Spain, meanwhile, recorded increases of 3% and 7%, respectively.

With sales surging 38% in Europe compared to the third quarter of 2015, the CX-3 is now the most popular new Mazda in eight European markets and a close second overall to the Mazda CX-5, its larger SUV sibling. The latter remains number one in key countries like Germany and Spain. Together the two models represented 45% of Mazda’s European turnover. Otherwise, demand for the Mazda3 remained resilient prior to the introduction of the updated 2017 model. The compact made up 22% of Mazda’s sales in Europe last quarter.

“These are certainly exciting times at Mazda. We’ve been busy, launching for example an innovative new handling-enhancing technology called G-Vectoring Control, initially with the 2017 Mazda6 and 2017 Mazda3,” says Martijn ten Brink, vice president sales & customer service at Mazda Motor Europe. “We also began production last week of the Mazda MX-5 RF, the new retractable fastback version of our award-winning two seater that will go on sale in Europe early next year.”

G-Vectoring Control (GVC) minutely adjusts engine torque to optimise the load on each wheel, thereby smoothening load transitions, particularly in curves, and reducing fatigue. For Mazda drivers, this translates into an even more satisfying experience behind the wheel. GVC, which is the first system in Mazda’s new SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS technology range, is destined in future for additional models. The MX-5 RF, meanwhile, features a unique three-piece power roof with stunning fastback styling. It should bring the appeal of the world’s most popular roadster to a wider audience. Sales of the current-generation soft-top MX-5 swelled by 28% in Europe last quarter.

* Source for all figures: Mazda internal data