The all-new Mazda3 is proving to be a hit with fleets after demand for petrol-engined models exceeded expectations.
This year the all-new Mazda3 joined the Mazda6 and Mazda CX-5 in benefiting from the brand's Skyactiv technology, which delivers low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and improved fuel economy.
In the changeover model year of 2013/14 Mazda3 accounted for 12%, but Mazda says fleet interest is growing. It expects growth of around 30% in its core fleet channels in 2014/15 - end-user fleets, Mazda Contract Hire and leasing companies - and much of that will be due to demand for all-new Mazda3.
To date the fleet sales split between diesel and petrol engine models is 63% versus 37% respectively. Mazda says petrol engines models are proving particularly attractive to employees opting for a company car via a salary sacrifice scheme or lease arrangement.
Fuel economy of the entry-level Skyactiv-G petrol 1.5-litre 100ps model is 24% better than the previous generation Mazda3 1.6-litre petrol with CO2 emissions reduced by 17%.
Mazda head of Fleet Steve Tomlinson said: "The combination of power, performance and specification delivered by the all-new Mazda3 petrol engine range twinned with low CO2 and top-notch MPG is proving very attractive when factored against a monthly lease rate, which reflects annual mileage and excellent residual values."
The all-new Mazda3 is available in both a hatchback and fastback (saloon) with fleet sales 62% versus 38% respectively.
Tomlinson said: "The fastback is proving popular amongst company car drivers who prefer coupé-like styling in a mid-sized four-door saloon."
He concluded: "There is no doubt that diesel-powered hatchback derivatives of the all-new Mazda3 will remain the most popular among company car drivers. However, the arrival of Skyactiv technology in the all-new Mazda3 in both hatchback and fastback bodystyles is changing the market allied to the lifestyles of today's employees."
The all-new Mazda3 is available with a choice of Skyactiv-G petrol 1.5-litre 100ps, 2.0-litre 120ps and 2.0-litre 165ps engines or the Skyactiv-D diesel 2.2-litre 150ps powerplant. On-the-road prices start at £16,695 for the all-new Mazda3 range with a choice of SE, SE-L and Sport Nav specifications with the former two also available with navigation options.
Petrol engine models offer fuel economy from up to 55.4mpg and CO2 emissions from 119g/km, while the diesel engine, which meets Euro 6 emission standards, returns up to 72.4mpg with emissions from 104g/km.