Mazda’s Australian arm has confirmed today that it will give greater attention to fleet sales in the coming year as it works to increase market share.
The news marks a departure for Mazda, which has traditionally focused on private sales to retain a feel of exclusivity and to preserve resale values for owners.
It also comes as industry figures released today reveal that Hyundai has pulled slightly ahead of Mazda in Australia's sales race, registering 92,354 sales at the end of November to Mazda’s 91,973.
Speaking with press in Melbourne today, Mazda’s local Marketing Director, Alastair Doak, said that Mazda’s slight drop in sales year-to-date is a result of stock shortages, due largely to unexpected local demand for the outgoing Mazda2 and increased demand overseas.
Likewise, Mazda Australia spokesperson Steven Maciver said that had supply of the seven year-old Mazda2 been able to meet that demand, it would have resulted in around 1000 to 2000 sales - which would have kept Mazda in the number three position for year-to-date sales at the end of November.
Importantly, Mazda expects to recover third place by the end of the year, and is on track to top 100,000 sales for the third year running.
The carmaker is not ignorant however of the need to boost sales in the increasingly competitive Australian new-car market, moving the brand to at last explore a limited venture into fleet sales.
“We don’t do large fleet and we wont do large fleet, but we’re looking at small business fleet. We’re taking input from dealers on how best to approach that space,” Mr Doak said today.
“We’ll look at how we can communicate better with small business buyers in the medium segment (Mazda6) and we're reviewing the types of packages we can offer in that market space."
“Large fleet business will probably decline with the end of local manufacturing, so we see the small business fleet and ‘user choose’ markets expanding, so that’s our focus for now apart from the private buyer”.
Mr Doak said that Mazda's business is primarily built around people who want to be engaged by their cars, "by people who want to feel that their car is cool".
"That’s what we want, some emotional connection with our customer and we don’t think we can keep that by selling thousands of white fleet cars”.