So what's the deal? Do you think the automotive industry is playing some joke on us Americans? Why is it every car takes a drop off the styling cliff in order to be available here? It's f***ing LAME! What the hell!? f*** you Mazda! f*** you in your ass! Even Fords look great in Europe.. and they have diesel engines!
Many smaller cars are designed IN and FOR the European market, because small cars are the mainstream cars there. And often, that same car will eventually be offered in the US in a re-skinned form.
Example: the current US Ford Focus is essentially the same as the Euro Focus was 2 generations ago. The tooling to make the Euro Focus was moved to the US once the Euro run of that generation was completed. The outer skin was updated and certain things added due to US requirements (5 MPH bumpers, for example), but it's the same car that you could buy in Europe 10 years ago.
And Mazda is, of course, joined at the hip to Ford.
But on the other hand, mid-size and full-size cars, and nearly all trucks, always appear in the US first, and are only later available, if ever, in other parts of the world. I have an old 1990 Toyota 4x4 pickup, which was discontinued in 1995 when the first Tacoma was released. The frame and most of the mechanicals from my model have been used for the 97 and later Toyota HiLux pickup sold all over the world.
The Mazda 3 is actually pretty much the same across seas, aside from subtle styling changes. The one in the link must be some next generation Mazda 3.
As for the shorthanded thing. When a European is asked what his thought is about American cars, they will say things like, ugly, poor mileage, bad quality, hideous drive, underpowered, too big... etc.
This comes down to the fact that the American auto buyer is much happier with less as long as it's cheap than something that's good yet a bit more expensive (even your Volkswagen's are watered down versions) and this is what the automakers have been making. In Europe, people don't just want cheap, they want well made too.
This is why brands like Mercedes Benz and BMW make good sales in both sides of the ocean and yet Cadillac only makes good sales on one side of the ocean. This also has to do with bad management of certain makes.
We also get a wider range of cars with a wider range of engines to choose from. Specifically some amazing diesel engines which we can get here would very much benefit Americans with huge commutes. Just to demonstrate the effectiveness of diesel engines, the BMW 535d (dream car) has a 3.0 twin turbo Diesel straight six, get's 35 mpg in normal driving (maybe even more) which translates to 800 miles on a single tank of diesel and can also do 0-60 in 5.7 seconds.
There's something to this and it's more than just styling.
BMW, Mercedes and some other car mantracturers give the US a subtle FU by down-tuning their higher performance vehicles by a few BHP for the US market in addition to not making the same styling options available here.