Scotland Is Happy Hunting Ground For Mazda

Scotland consolidated its role as Mazda’s leading UK area for retail and overall sales during 2005 as its dealership network north of the border grows in strength and depth.

With new outlets coming on stream during 2006 in Glasgow, Peebles and the Shetland Isles, Mazda will have unprecedented geographical coverage north of the border.

Mazda bucked the industry trend by increasing its market share. This was up to just over 2.4% in overall, and slightly above 2.5% on the retail front in a market dominated by discerning private buyers.

This sustained performance came in a fiercely competitive sales environment where, during the first ten months of the year, overall sales fell 6.6%, while retail volumes slipped by around 9%.

The consistently strong performance by Mazda’s 15 Scottish retailers, harnessing a flow of new and updated models, testified to a formidable combination of established local community businesses and larger multi-franchise groups.

Welcoming the sustained success, Jeremy Thomson, sales director of Mazda Motors UK, said: “We have consolidated an already strong market share. Scotland has consistently been one of our most important areas where we have a strong dealer body and loyal customers as brand advocates.”

By the end of 2006 the addition of three new outlets as varied as Peebles in the Borders, Glasgow’s regenerated docklands and Lerwick in the Shetland Isles will complete Mazda’s Scottish portfolio.

Arnold Clark’s new £7 million Glasgow Harbour complex will cement the company’s role as Mazda’s top-selling Scottish group with around 1800 new car sales in 2005.

Jim’s Garage in Lerwick, run by dealer principle Jim Manson, should generate higher than average local market penetration in one of Britain’s most far-flung markets.

Equally, the new outlet for Brown Brothers of Peebles is in a rural area renowned for strong community loyalties.

Mazda3 took over from the Mazda6 as the company’s top seller in Scotland during 2005 and a strong 420-car performance by the RX-8 put the rotary-engined coupe in third place.

Thomson commented: “The Mazda RX-8’s success perhaps shows that Scotland’s superb driving roads are assets when selling sports cars. We connected the dynamic driving fun of our cars, and open Scottish roads by using Ackergill Tower in Wick as the base for the Mazda5 MPV’s UK launch.”

Mazda follows through on the high-performance front in January with the 150mph, all-wheel-drive, 260PS flagship Mazda6 MPS (Mazda Performance System.)

Meanwhile, the seven-seater Mazda5 won the title of "Scotland's Best MPV" at the Scottish Car of the Year awards in October.

Mazda’s strong residual values, often approaching premium brand levels, are particularly relevant in Scotland, where, Thomson explained, there is not such a high degree of “distressed discounting.”

He added: “Scottish buyers realise, increasingly, that Mazdas and the people who sell them, serve them well on all fronts.”

James Byers, managing director of Bickets of Kilmarnock, holders of the franchise for 25 years, and top-ranking UK customer satisfaction medium-sized dealer, explained Mazda’s ongoing success.

He said: “Mazda customers’ re-purchase rate remains above 70%, conquest sales are climbing and former owners are returning. There has been a series of great new models and with a sparkling range ‘zoom zoom’ really means something. There is two-way loyalty between us and our customers.”

Andrew Marshall, Mazda brand manager for the Arnold Clark Group, said: “The franchise has been reborn with one of the sexiest ranges out there. It is a fun brand. People want the latest of everything and state-of-the-art Mazdas offer that at reasonable prices.

“It is an ideal formula for Scotland and its well-informed consumers in a very price-driven market where looks, reliability and value count.”

Published 28 December 2005 Melanie Carter

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