The Mazda3 or Mazda 3 (known as the Mazda Axela in Japan, a combination of "accelerate" and "excellent" according to the Mazda Japanese source translated ) is a compact car manufactured in Japan by Mazda. It was introduced in 2003 as a 2004 model, replacing the Familia/323/Protegé. A performance-oriented version of the Mazda3 is marketed as the Mazdaspeed3 in North America, Mazdaspeed Axela in Japan and the Mazda3 MPS in Europe.
A second generation Mazda3 for the 2009 model year was unveiled in late 2008, with the sedan premièring at the Los Angeles Auto Show and the hatchback at the Bologna Auto Show. For the 2012 model year, Mazda began offering the Mazda3 with their newly developed SkyActiv technology, including a more rigid body, a new direct injection engine, and a new 6-speed transmission.
The current third generation was introduced in mid-2013 as a 2014 model.