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Mazda Oz a mover and shaker

Mazda Australia now wields power and influence over future models

Mazda logo25 Nov 2005

MAZDA Australia’s unprecedented growth in Australia over the past six years has earned it a high level of credibility within Mazda Motor Corporation, to the point where it now has influence on future model decisions.

"Mazda Australia now has a say on future model developments," said Mazda’s director and senior managing executive officer in charge of marketing, sales and customer service worldwide, Daniel T Morris.

"It has earned credibility over the last few years ... to the point where (they) have a voice in the development stage (of future products)," he said.

Speaking to media in Melbourne last week, the senior Mazda executive said he was impressed with the Australian subsidiary’s progress over the past six years, which has seen its market share double to around 6.8 per cent.

In fact, former Mazda Australia managing director Malcolm Gough, who was the company’s first non-Japanese boss (from 1997 to 2004), is known within the corporation as "the father" of the next-generation B-series light truck.

Mr Gough is now based at Mazda’s head office in Hiroshima, Japan, and is the executive officer and general manager of the overseas sales division for the company worldwide.

 center imageMr Morris (left) would not divulge details of the B-series (or any other future Mazda model), other than to say that buyers would be "pleasantly surprised" with the vehicle.

However, he did reveal that the next B-series was wholly developed by Mazda in Japan, using the same resources it puts in models like the Mazda3.

Mr Morris’ tour in Australia is part of a global mission to assess the various needs of Mazda’s key distributor outposts worldwide.

"(I’m here to) get a lot of the smaller voices heard (so as to) to build a future business case for specific markets’ needs," he said. "I’m getting out and listening to what is on people’s minds ... as well as what is on dealers’ minds."One issue brought up last week was the lack of a spare tyre in the new MX-5, which seems to have dismayed Australia’s Mazda dealer network.

"The dealers have very strongly voiced their wants," Mr Morris said.

He said the point had been noted for future Mazda vehicles coming to Australia but that it was not a priority for a model as focused or specialised as the MX-5.

Mazda has earned its independence within its major shareholder, the Ford Motor Company, helped along by a few senior ex-Mazda staff such as Lewis Booth and Mark Fields, both of whom have become high-level personnel within the Ford world.

"They strengthen our relationship with Ford ... create better synergies ... and recognise Mazda’s needs," Mr Morris said.

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