A big shift towards private buyers helped Mazda UK to a record 51,489 sales in 2007 – and managing director Rob Lindley is predicting more of the same in 2008.
Lindley points to the fact that Mazda’s retail sales were up by 12.7 per cent in 2007 while the retail market overall was only up by 1.7 per cent. “It’s quite an impressive figure and we are pretty pleased with it,” said Lindley.
Mazda’s overall retail sales were 51.2 per cent of its total sales for the year, peaking at 62.2 per cent share in December when Mazda nearly doubled retail sales over 2006. Private sales nationally accounted for 43.5 per cent of total sales, according to figures from the SMMT.
The success of the retail sales was not only the result of the introduction of new models like Mazda2 but also because Lindley and his sales team focused very carefully on managing the run-out of Mazda2 and Mazda6, 'an opportunity that the Mazda Dealers really embraced,' he added.
“At the start of the year we took a very balanced view of how to divide our marketing resources between retail, fleet, Motability and other sectors,” he explained.
More investment went into supporting retail sales and Mazda used Motability to accelerate the run out of outgoing models. The policy paid off resulting in the improvement in retail and very clean run outs ahead of the new model launches, said Lindley.
Sports cars also play an important part in Mazda UK’s success accounting for over one-in-four sales. Lindley includes Mazda3 MPS, Mazda6 MPS and the Mazda CX-7 Sports Crossover in this category.
Mazda is the clear market leader in the sports car market and together with the MPS models this helps the profitability of both Mazda and its dealers. But how do sports cars impact on the overall emissions of the Mazda range?
“The problem in the past was that we didn’t sell many small cars unlike companies like Fiat and Peugeot,” said Lindley, “and with such a strong sports car focus our diesel mix is lower than average. These factors don't help our average CO2 figures.”
These are problems which will be resolved in 2008. “Our diesel story is moving on and the perception that we have been weak on diesels will change forever in 2008 with the launch of our latest models.
“Mazda2 is at the top end of its class for emissions and Mazda6 is class‑leading while the upgraded Mazda5 also has improved CO2 emissions. With a much higher mix of our sales coming from the lowest emitting Mazda2 versus last year we are making significant progress on further improving emissions,” Lindley explains.
For 2008, Lindley is predicting sales of between 56,000 and 57,000 despite it being “a hard year to read.” Half of the range is new with Mazda2 launched only in September 2007 and Mazda6 and CX-7 only just launched; upgraded Mazda5 is also new.
Most of Mazda UK’s growth is expected to come from Mazda2 with full year sales predicted to be more than 12,000. Top seller in the Mazda line‑up for 2007 was the Mazda6 – not bad for a car in its run-out – with 13,560 buyers.
The UK’s success helped Mazda Europe to total sales in 2007 of 311,200, the highest in 16 years, with record sales also in Russia, Greece and Portugal.
|Full Year Volumes – Mazda UK|