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Mazda reconsiders 5

High Five: Two-year-old Mazda5 could head Down Under after all.

Overseas sales success prompts second thoughts for Mazda's mini people-mover

6 Jul 2007

MAZDA is reconsidering its decision not to bring the Mazda5 compact people-mover to Australia, but may now have to wait until at least the next facelift becomes available in a couple of years.

Burnt by poor sales of its Premacy MPV predecessor, Mazda Australia overlooked the Five when it was launched internationally in 2005, but has been impressed by its sales success overseas.

Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson said the company would do some local market research as part of a reassessment for the compact MPV.

However, he remains cautious given that the rival Holden Zafira was also driven out of the market last year due to poor sales, leaving the Honda Odyssey (down 15.1 per cent to 3002 units last year), Toyota Avensis (up 25.6 per cent to 1417), Hyundai Trajet (down 33.7 per cent to 403) and Renault Scenic (down 37.1 per cent to 300) squabbling over a diminishing market.

“We didn’t have a great experience with Premacy,” Mr Dickson admitted, “but the Mazda5 has been very successful in other markets in the world, where they probably didn’t expect success.

“We probably wouldn’t do much with it now it might have to wait until the next model change. It would be difficult to get involved with now.

“If you look at the raw numbers, the market demand suggests it wouldn’t be successful. Most of the players that have been in that segment are out now, so there would have to be something distinctly different about our Mazda5 for it to succeed.

“We might do some research and get one out to Australia and have a look, ask some customers, ask some journalists and see what you reckon.

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“Pricing’s also an issue and, if it doesn’t have a market demand of its own, is it going to eat into existing Mazda3 sales? we don’t have unlimited supply, we are on an allocation, so if we wanted to introduce Mazda5 now we would probably have to reduce some of the other products and, finally, every time you introduce a new series you have to be able to devote marketing effort and dealer share of mind, and sometimes that’s difficult.”As for the similarly-named but unrelated CX-5 – the long rumoured little brother to the popular CX-7 crossover SUV – there is still no official production plan.

Mr Dickson admits he would like such a vehicle, but that a go-ahead will depend on demand from the United States and Europe.

“While it is important for Mazda Australia, it probably isn’t as important in other major markets like the US and Europe,” he said.

“I guess that’s the issue for us – even though we do well in Australia, our volumes really aren’t sufficient to justify the corporation doing something just for us. If the rest of the Mazda world doesn’t want one, then we don’t get it. There needs to be more demand from other regions.”

Read more:

First look: Mazda5 to replace Premacy

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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