I still see a few of the first generation Mazda called the Protege in the U.S. Of course these were called the 323 before Protege, and were known as the “GLC” before the 323. Many times I will see another car within a few weeks after I post something on this website. This time I actually found two in the same parking lot at the same time! These photos were all taken within 30 seconds.
The Protege platform was also used by Ford as the Escort and the Mercury Tracer. In 2003 the Protege was renamed again as the Mazda3. This may be one of the rare exceptions in automotive branding, where a car has been renamed numerous times and is more successful with each new name. Much is made of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla building huge brand recognition and sales success by sticking with one name for 30+ years. As always Mazda goes in it’s own direction and makes it work.