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Facelifted Mazda6 takes aim at fleets

6 pack: The facelifted Mazda6 arrives early next year and the Japanese car-maker is planning to target fleet and business buyers with its updated mid-sizer.

Falling sales prompts Mazda to take a look at how Mazda6 can find more buyers

Mazda logo22 Nov 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in LOS ANGELES

MAZDA’S local chief says the company has to try harder and push for more fleet buyers if the facelifted Mazda6 is to grow in sales.

Due in the first quarter of next year, the revamped version of the two-year old GJ series will be positioned and packaged to attract more user-chooser and fleet buyers.

While Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders stresses that it will not be discounted or have specification removed, he said the level of new technology features coupled with improved comfort and refinement will spell better value for money than before.

Speaking with GoAuto at the Los Angeles motor show, the company veteran added that it was probably a judgement of error to concentrate solely on private buyers when the outgoing version was launched in December 2012, with these consumers moving away from sedans and wagons into SUVs as well as premium-badged cars.

Mr Benders also admits that the loss of the popular five-door liftback model when the GH series finished two years ago has probably not helped the Japanese mid-sizer’s fortunes in Australia.

“Traditionally Mazda hasn’t played in fleet but that market has changed,” he said. “So we’re trying to find a better way of communicating to those people.

It’s not a price thing it’s a packaging thing, a financing thing.

“With that new interior we think we can aim a bit higher. Private buyers are migrating to SUVs but business buyers are still in sedans so if we’re going to get more bang for our buck with that car we’re going to have to talk more with that fleet buyer.”

Among the opportunities that Mr Benders believes exists for the Mazda6 is the expected gap left when local production of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon large cars ceases over the next two years.

“The Mazda6 wagon diesel must be a natural for the country buyers once the Falcon and Commodore leave. In size really there’s not a lot of difference.

“We do recognise more opportunity with that car over the next couple of years.

But we have to communicate with that customer better. We did what we normally did with the Mazda6 at launch, but those private buyers are leaving that segment so we have to change too.”

To help Mazda reach its sales aspirations, Mr Benders said a new position has been created within the company that solely deals within the corporate sphere.

From January to the end of October, 5035 Mazda6s were registered in Australia – a 24 per cent drop in volume over the preceding time last year when 6637 examples found homes.

The whole sub-$60,000 medium segment is down so far in 2014, to the tune of 12.4 per cent.

Predictably Toyota leads the pack with 17,689 Camrys for a 43.1 per cent share of the class, followed by the Mazda6 and the Ford Mondeo at 2722 units. The latter is quite an achievement for the Blue Oval, seeing as it is entering its eighth year on sale in this country.

Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class may sit in the more than $60,000 mid-size segment, but it is third in the overall medium category with 4381 sales to the end of October this year.

BMW’s 3 Series is also ahead of the Mondeo with 3841 units shifted year to date.

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