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Australia apple of Mazda's eye

Proud father: Manager of the CX-3 development program Michio Tomiyama says the new compact crossover will reinforce Mazda's strong Australian connection.

Mazda executive says Japanese/Australian union is the company's strongest

10 Dec 2014

MAZDA says a world-leading focus on forging long-term customer relationships and a product range developed with Australia specifically in mind, are the secrets behind the Japanese brand's success Down Under.

The battle for Australia's top-selling brand rages on with Toyota in front leaving Mazda and Hyundai to tussle for second place, but the Hiroshima-based car-maker holds the title of number-one selling model with nearly 3500 Mazda3s sold last month.

Speaking through a translator at the first international drive of the company's critical CX-3, the compact SUV's program manager Michio Tomiyama told GoAuto the success was partly attributable to strong customer relationships that even the brand's home country could not match.

“A lot of things are attributable to the sales people - they have a very strong, trustworthy relationship with customers and they have a good cycle (returning customers) thanks to that,” he said.

“It takes time when it comes to building a trustworthy relationship and I think among all the markets, Australia is the best market in terms of building good relationships with customers.

“Even in Japan we still haven't got this strong relationship with customers.”

Mr Tomiyama explained Australia was selected as the location for the world's first CX-3 prototype drive as a result of the company's strong ties with the nation and its agreeable conditions at this time of year.

“We looked at the mass-production start timing and also we thought about choosing a place with a nice climate and as a result we decided to have the global test-drive first in Australia,” he said.

“And of course there is no doubt there is the fact that Australia is very kind to Mazda and Mazda is a favourite in Australia. This was another factor that really pushed our decision to do it here first.”

The strength and quality of the Mazda line-up is also responsible for the prosperity of the brand says Mr Tomiyama, with all new models developed with Australia in mind.

“When we are thinking about what products we should build we are listening to our customer's feedback,” he said. “From the early stage of product development we get input from the markets and reflect those needs and wants in the development.

“Of course we build products thinking of Australia as a high-priority market definitely. Mazda gets the highest feedback as a brand in the [local] markets above other markets in the world. Australia is number one.”

Mr Tomiyama was proud to present the all-new Mazda CX-3 to Australian media and said the arrival of the baby SUV on Australian soil before any other region marks a strengthening relationship.

“If we deliver good products that reinforce our good relationship then sales will also get better and then can only result in a greater appreciation of the Mazda brand as well.”

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