Mazda UK hit new heights in September despite a falling new car market and some holes in the model line up.

Managing director Rob Lindley reported Mazda’s best-ever market share of 2.2 per cent. "This was in spite of the fact the market was down 4 per cent along with some obvious obstacles - no diesel for the Mazda5 or Mazda6 which normally account for 40 per cent of sales of these models. We were also going through the run-out of the MX-5."

This was offset by a good sales performance by the Mazda3, very strong in the retail sector, as well as the RX-8 which was backed by renewed television advertising and zero per cent finance.

Lindley said: "The remainder of the year looks to be tailing off and we are looking for a year-end total of 47,500 sales. I expect the market to be flat next year although we are looking to increase our volume to 53,000 with a full year for the new MX-5 - we plan to sell 10,000 in 2006 - and the introduction of the Mazda6 MPS.

"In the future we are also looking at performance versions of other vehicles. We see Mazda carving a niche as a non-premium sports brand and with vehicles such as the MX-5 and RX-8 we are already capturing around 30 per cent of this market."

The important thing, he added, was that dealers make money. "At the moment they are getting around 0.7 per cent margin which is not good enough. We want to be in the top 25 per cent of franchises in terms of return on investment which makes us a good prospect for those people who are looking for new business."

Mazda is still looking for new dealers around some of the major cities, open points it has found difficult to fill because of the expense in terms of investment and real estate.

Lindley said: "We do have a dealer development programme aimed at helping people set up business - we are not interested in owning dealerships ourselves, we would much rather have the right partners."

Published : 11/11/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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