It's likely that the new Mazda 3 will be based on this, the Kai Concept. But will South Africans ever choose it over the Golf?
There is no denying it: The Kai Concept, seen here in red/orange, is a very good looking concept car and we want to see it built. It uses Mazda's new design language, KODO, which basically means soul in motion; sleekness; without unnecessary creases, folds and bumps to ultimately give you beautifully more with substantially less; a car that looks as smooth as a baby dolphin but with the character of a Great White.
This Kai concept is a hatchback-ed version of the Vision Coupe as seen below (and previewed yesterday) - and is one of the stand out vehicles at this year's Tokyo Motor Show. In fact, it is believed that this will ultimately become the new Mazda 3, which will make it (when it arrives sometime around 2019) a very pretty Golf rival.
The Vision Coupe. Photo from AutoExpress.
So, as the world prepares itself for an influx of exceptionally good looking Japanese cars, with this Mazda being one of the many, are South Africans actually prepared? Are they prepared enough for the restless nights that will see them toss-and-turn about the anxious decision of whether or not to choose South Africa's favourite, the Golf, over some great-looking and exceptioanally reliable Asian alternatives?
The unveiling of the Kai Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, as taken by AutoExpress.
Once upon a time, it was inconceivable to think that Mazda could ever compete with the immensity and legacy of VW Golf in South Africa - and even though this Kai Concept is not a Mazda 3 yet, nor does it exist yet as a buying option - it is not inconceivable to see why restless nights might emerge. Yes, this Mazda, in its current form at least, is good looking enough to make VW worry as surely it will see many South Africans ultimately consider it over the German.
Whether they actually buy it though in Golf numbers remains to be seen; however, let Gusheshe remind you about the success of the South Koreans in South Africa to explain why it is not impossible. Take a look at the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage for example. Those were once gimmick SUVs with few sales and fewer head-turns. But, as soon as they became pretty, combined with the growing reputation of South Korean reliability, they absolutely flourished. Now, they're everywhere.
Mazda however, has even more of an advantage. It already arrives with strong, Japanese technical credibility, which is a credibility that has seen the likes of Toyota become the most popular brand in the country as it is widely considered the most reliable. So, dismiss Mazda then at your peril, for its pretty philosophy of KODO might very well see it become the staple in a country that rightly believes that good looking cars make you better looking - and that good looking cars that are reliable, are even better.
Don't discount how the flow of good design can influence buyers the world over, even in a place as motoringly stubborn as South Africa. If the Mazda 3 arrives this good looking, it is not inconceivable to think that many people will choose it over Golf.
The question then is this: Would you?