The 1st gen 3 has been a huge success for Mazda. I have always admired the car, and would have bought one if I didn't get my 6. Mazda really needs a compact coupe. The Miata roadster doesn't really fit the bill for a volume coupe, and the RX-8 is too big to be the ONLY coupe they offer. A 3 coupe would be the perfect size to compete with Civic, Cobalt, et al. The next-generation 3 seems to be shaping up for some serious competition for the others. So far, so good IMO.
This car already looks better than the spy shots of that Chevy "world car" claiming to be the new Cobalt, from a few weeks ago. I will be in the market for another small car in 2011 and I will jump ship if GM does not produce something far better than what they've been doing in the past.