Just as people can sometimes come and go in your life and relationships can come to an end, so too can partnerships among car companies come to a point of conclusion either acrimonious or amicable. Usually in such cases there is one party that people assume will flourish after the alleged “break up” only to leave the other to fall apart. This is especially true of automakers who hop into bed with other car manufacturers with the amorous regularity of a “Jersey Shore” cast member and pretty much anything that moves.
Recently when Ford sold its long held majority stake in Mazda many industry pundits assumed that the much smaller Japanese firm stood little chance of surviving on its own. But clearly these individuals underestimated what the masterminds of the iconic Miata and RX-7 had up their sleeves. Not only is this car company surviving but it is actually thriving thanks to terrific new models like the compact crossover suv CX-5 and the revitalized 2012 Mazda3 SkyActiv sedan and hatchback, which this year have been racking up record sales.
And the 2012 Mazda3 SkyActiv is not just selling well, it stands as an undeniable statement of intent from this spunky automaker that they agree with the sentiment of pop singer Kelly Clarkson’s inescapable worldwide mega-hit “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.” Sure, Ford may have dated Mazda for years only to leave them at the altar but based on our driving experience with the 2012 Mazda3 this company has well and truly “come back swinging” to take a line from the aforementioned song. And, yes, thanks to all of the changes made to the 3 as part of the SkyActiv engineering program, it now kicks the newly introduced Ford Focus in the rear harder than Ms. Clarkson can rock a stage.