"Our model line-up is unrecognisable now from two years ago," said Jeremy Thomson, Marketing Director. "In August 2001 we said this would be a product-led revival, and it certainly has been.
"We have in excess of 1,600 pre-orders for the Mazda RX-8 each with a £1,000 deposit, which is by far the largest order take across Europe and we are particularly pleased that our pre-order process has encouraged customers to place orders despite not having seen or driven the car! This is a terrific endorsement of our product range and the advances we have made in recent years. What's really encouraging is that 90% of these customers are new to Mazda, including significant conquests from premium German marques.
"For a long time we've been seen as a one-brand company with the Mazda MX-5, which in its 14th year will have best-ever sales of more than 9,000. However, with the recent launches of the Mazda6, the Mazda2 and – next January – the Mazda3, we have changed this perception.
"Total Mazda RX-8 sales for this year were forecast for 1,600 but there is enough capacity for us to go to 2,000. In 2004 we are looking to sell 6,000, which is about two-thirds the number of TTs that Audi sells in the UK. The rotary engine is new to many people although over 1.8 million have been sold worldwide. Over 85% of our customers are A/B professionals who are very well read and know all about rotary engines and we want to bring rotary technology to an ever-greater audience."
The Mazda RX-8 has been designed with both fun and functionality in mind. With a rigid chassis, sports suspension, six-speed transmission on the high power version, coupe styling, class leading handling, steering and braking and the unique and powerful Mazda rotary engine offering almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution, it is a pure high performance sports car designed to be enjoyed by enthusiastic drivers. Conversely, with its freestyle rear door system allowing ease of access to the rear two seats not found in traditional coupes, sufficient room in the rear for generously proportioned adults and a boot that allows for a realistic amount of luggage, the Mazda RX-8 eliminates the compromises normally associated with sports cars.
In line with Mazda's philosophy of offering outstanding value in cars that are fun to drive, the UK pricing of the Mazda RX-8 is extremely attractive. The 192ps version is priced at just £20,000 and the high power – 231ps – £22,000, a pricing strategy that has led to a high level of interest in the car.Published 11 October 2003