Following Mazda Motors’ record performance during 2006 - breaking the 50,000 sales barrier for the first time and claiming a 2.11 per cent share of the UK market - official registration figures now confirm that over the last five years Mazda has outgrown all other car brands in the UK. In the five years since 2001 when Mazda took over the business from the MCL Group, Mazda has grown its annual sales volume by more than 35,000 units and achieved a growth rate of almost 250 per cent.
“Last year witnessed a number of significant milestones for Mazda in the UK,” commented Rob Lindley, Managing Director of Mazda Motors UK. “We celebrated the fifth anniversary of taking over the business from MCL in August 2001, passed the landmark figures of 50,000 and 2 per cent for market share, and now the figures confirm that over the last five years we have recorded the highest growth rate for sales volume of any brand in the UK.
“There are three key factors behind Mazda’s success in the UK - product, dealer development and investment in marketing,” continued Lindley. “During this period the Mazda Corporation has completely renewed its product line-up and kick-started the change in perception of the brand with the hugely popular Mazda6. That model bore no comparison to the worthy but not very well known Mazda 626 and marked the beginning of a new era. Every model in our range has been replaced and in addition the Mazda RX-8 four-door sports coupe took us into a completely new segment.”
Compared to the previous independent importer, Mazda Motors UK has invested significant funds in marketing of the brand. It has also overseen a complete reinvigoration of the UK dealer network. The dealer network has grown from 100 in 2001 to 160 today. Mazda is proud of its regional strengths, particularly its robust Scottish network which claimed a 2.9 per cent market share last year.
“Realistically, I don’t think we will see the same level of growth over the next five years,” observes Lindley. “Clearly we are keen to consolidate our position and continue growing, though I can’t foresee annual double-digit growth again, unless something really radical happens on the product front.
“While we are looking to bolster our dealer network, growth in the next couple of years will again be primarily product driven.
“For 2007, we have two exciting models arriving in showrooms - the Mazda3 MPS superhatch and the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe, plus the launch of the all-new Mazda CX-7 crossover SUV later in the year, which will win us conquest sales in a whole new segment for our brand.”
In the summer, Mazda will start producing the all-new Japanese-built B-segment model. “I’m really excited by the prospect of our new B-segment model,” enthused Lindley. “If we can repeat the performance of Mazda3 market share with this new model, then this alone would add 10,000 units to our annual volume. We won’t expect to do that in the short term, but this car is going to be a real winner for us and it does show that the potential for further growth is definitely there.”
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