To the end of July 2004, fleet sales of Mazda6 totalled 5,024 putting the model well on track to overtake its 2003 full-year corporate sales of 7,224. Mazda MX-5 continues its unrivalled popularity with fleet registrations at 1,784 for this period. Meanwhile, Mazda RX-8 fleet registrations of 583 units account for 10 per cent of the model’s total sales in the UK.
"More open choice lists and the increasing uptake of cash-for-car, personal contract purchase and employee car ownership schemes have boosted fleet registrations of the Mazda MX-5 and Mazda RX-8 as employees choose the car of their dreams," commented McGonigle.
"Feedback from contract hire and leasing companies shows Mazda’s value-for-money philosophy results in sector-high residual values, with depreciation at the benchmark three-year/60,000 mile threshold – the envy of rival manufacturers. This means highly competitive monthly rental rates from leasing providers, which fleets just cannot ignore.
Contract hire and leasing company views
LeasePlan, which operates a fleet of around 130,000 vehicles, has experienced a 200 per cent rise in demand for Mazda vehicles year-on-year:
"The fleet market is changing dramatically - reflected in our vehicle portfolio where Mazda offers a very credible alternative to traditionally mainstream models and a strong overall range," commented manufacturer relationship manager Rob Barnes.
"A richer mix of product is crucial to us achieving the Holy Grail of CAP ‘clean’ and above at disposal time. We defleet approximately 40,000 vehicles annually and to have vehicles across all sections of the market spreads the residual risk. To take on board a manufacturer like Mazda, which has such an interesting product range helps achieve our aim," added Barnes.
Interleasing, another major UK contract hire and leasing company with a fleet of 106,000 vehicles, has seen demand for Mazda vehicles double already this year compared with the whole of 2003.
Wendy Old, vehicle contracts manager at Interleasing, said: "Customers have become more switched on to Mazdas as a result of seeing more vehicles on the road and in advertising.
"The Mazda6 with its high specification and competitive price offers company car drivers a vehicle that is a bit different. The Mazda RX-8 has done very well as it is a true four-seater for the employee who wants a sporty car, but needs to cater for the family, while the Mazda MX-5 continues to be in huge demand.
"I think this success will rub off on Mazda3 as fleets become more aware of the car. There are certain public sector fleets, such as the NHS, where Mazda3 will do well. It is a fantastically well packaged car and as it is seen more widely on the roads demand will rise.
"Strong residual values, demand for models and the reliability of product means we are happy to work with Mazda among our mix of manufacturers," added Old.
To read our in depth road test of the Mazda3 2.0 Sport [ click herePublished 18 August 2004