Mr McGonigle said: "Benefit-in-kind tax changes in 2002 resulted in drivers demanding more company car choice from their employers as they were fed up with some of the stale offerings by more established manufacturers.
"Mazda has been able to satisfy that hunger initially with the Mazda6, while the RX-8 has been a runaway success in the user-chooser sector. At the smaller end of the spectrum the Mazda3 has provided employees with a stylish, sporty and modern alternative to the mainstream."
One of Mazda’s major goals in 2004 was to establish itself in the important UK contract hire and leasing sector. That aspiration has been achieved with Mazda now poised to enter the top 10 manufacturers in terms of advance orders from leasing companies putting it ahead of more established brands.
Mr McGonigle believes that much of Mazda’s corporate success is due to the reputation for vehicle reliability that the company’s cars have established. This year, for the fourth year in succession, the brand topped the independent Warranty Direct Manufacturer Reliability Index. The annual survey looked at 30,000 vehicles from 27 leading vehicle manufacturers and combined the number of faults a car suffered alongside the actual cost of repairing them.
Crucially, this year’s performance also saw average repair bills reduce for Mazda vehicles from £275 a year ago to £244 this year making its model line-up among the most economical on the road to repair.
Vehicle reliability is essential in ensuring that the wheels of British industry and commerce run cost effectively and efficiently and, along with strong residual values and excellent wholelife costs are key factors in gaining fleet confidence and leasing company business.
Mr McGonigle said: "Mazda models are known for their value for money due to a combination of an ultra competitive list price and a specification which is frequently unchallenged by rivals. Allied to those factors are class-leading wholelife costs and residual values and, as a result, both company car drivers and fleet operators are happy."
Last month the Mazda6 1.8TS was selected by residual value expert John Coates in The Guardian as the number one fleet and family car in terms of holding its value against rivals such as the Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Avensis and Peugeot 407.
Further underlining Mazda’s success in 2004 has been the continuation of motor industry awards success, which began in 2002 with the launch of the Mazda6.
This year Mazda’s triumphs include
- Carmaker of the Year 2004 (AM Awards)
- Best Coupe (RX-8) and Best Estate Car (Mazda6 Estate) (What Car? Awards)
- Best Coupe (Top Gear)
- Best Coupe (RX-8) (Auto Express)
- Best User-Chooser Family Car (Mazda6) (Fleet World Honours)
- Best Diesel Family Car (Mazda6) (Diesel Car)
- Best Used Sports Convertible (MX-5) and Best Used Family Car (Mazda6) (Used Car Buyer)
- Used Family Car of the Year 2004 (Mazda6) (Auto Express)
- Tow Car of the Year 2005 (Mazda6 Estate 2.0D 136 PS) (The Caravan Club)
- Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘Good Car, Bad Car’ Best Coupe (RX-8) and Best Family Saloon (Mazda6) (The Sunday Times)
- Best Engine in the 2.5-3.0 litre category (Renesis rotary engine) (Engine Expo 2004)
To read our in depth road test of the Mazda3 [ click here ]
To read our in depth road test of the Mazda6 [ click here ]Published 16 December 2004