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Mazda Motor Corporation's Mazda3 sports compact, a vehicle known as Axela in Japan, has been named Canadian Car of the Year for 2004 by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). The announcement was made during the opening ceremonies for the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto on February 11, 2004.

Founded in 1984, the Canadian Car of the Year award is the country's most prestigious and coveted automobile prize. The annual award, conducted through secret ballot following extensive vehicle testing, is organized by over 50 AJAC members representing major publications across Canada. This year marks the first time that Mazda placed first in the Canadian Car of the Year competition.

Prior to the Canadian Car of the Year for 2004 announcement, Mazda won four of the ten 2004 Canadian Car of the Year category awards which were announced on December 2, 2003. Those awards included:

- Mazda3:
Best New Economy Car

- Mazda3 Sport:
Best New Sports Coupe (under Can $35,000)

- Mazda6:
Best New Family Vehicle

- Mazda RX-8:
Best New Sports/Performance Vehicle

Mazda's success in the category awards marked the first time in Canadian Car of the Year history that one manufacturer received multiple awards having placed first in each and every category in which it entered.

The award-winning Mazda3 went on sale in Canada in late 2003 and sales have been very strong since launch. Mazda3 was Canada's best-selling passenger car in January 2004 with sales of 2,510 units, marking the first time ever that a Mazda topped the sales chart. Additionally, Mazda Canada posted all-time monthly sales records in both December 2003 and January 2004.

Since its global launch in September 2003, Mazda3 has captured a total of 22 international automotive awards, including runner-up in the 2004 European Car of the Year. Benefiting from all the best elements of Mazda's focused product development system, Mazda3 has received high praise from around the world by consumers and media alike.

Mazda's line of new-generation, Zoom-Zoom products - Mazda6, Mazda2, RX-8 and Mazda3 - have captured more than 135 international automotive awards in the past 21 months. The new products from Mazda have also helped drive sales gains throughout the world for the Hiroshima-based company. In 2003, Mazda's global automotive sales in key automotive markets rose by over 14 percent when compared to 2002.
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