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Mazda Oz chief projects another industry record

Winner: The CX-5 SUV was one of four Mazda vehicles to top their respective segments in January.

New vehicle sales in 2013 to be the highest ever, according to top importer Mazda

Mazda logo4 Mar 2013


AUSTRALIA’S most popular full-line vehicle importer, Mazda, has forecast another industry sales record in 2013 that will eclipse the high water mark of 1.112 million set last year.

This is despite an expected dip from around September, when the company projects a few ‘corrections’, notably a small increase in unemployment as several large infrastructure projects are wound down.

Speaking at last week’s launch of its updated CX-5 compact SUV, Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson said the company’s analysts predicted a figure of around 1.116 million sales could be achieved this year, up around .04 per cent.

To place that into context, the record result in 2012 was itself up around 10 per cent up on 2011 figures and 5.9 per cent more than the previous record set in 2007.

Of the projected 1.116 million new cars and trucks sold here this year, Mazda hopes to account for between 107,000 and 108,000 units – meaning annual growth of 3.7 per cent and 13 consecutive years of sales increases.

 center imageLeft: Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson

This 3.7 per cent figure is also exactly 50 per cent of the company’s average market-gain – or, in other words, relative market share – growth over the past decade.

Mazda was the third biggest-selling car brand in Australia last year behind local producers Toyota and Holden, and became the first full importer to sell 100,000 new vehicles in a year.

The Japanese company even ousted local hero Holden in January on its way to a record 8912 vehicles, up 5.1 per cent on the 2012 figures from the same month.

The company also topped sales charts in four different segments, more than any other (Mazda2 in light passenger, Mazda3 in small passenger, Mazda6 in medium passenger and CX-5 in medium SUV).

Preliminary figures indicate the company again finished number two behind Toyota in February. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries will release the official monthly sales figures later this week.

Mr Dickson said the strong January performance gave confidence to the company’s projections, and also stated that strong performances last month from the likes of Ford, Nissan and Honda – up 32.3 per cent, 35.3 and a huge 141.7 per cent respectively – could “presage a new dynamic” this year.

“There is a huge pool of savings out there and if you have the right product or a compelling value message you can tap into it, and that’s exactly what is happening with the car industry right now,” he said.

“A lot will depend on the market, but our advisors are still pretty confident, and consumer confidence has taken a turn upwards. Share prices are rocketing, so I think we still have a very good year ahead of us.

“(However), there will be a little bit more unemployment towards the end of the year, because a lot of the big infrastructure projects will start to wind down.” Mr Dickson said the expected fourth-quarter cool down had little to do with the looming federal election, and said the company expected the Australian dollar to hold its strength until the end of year – an ominous sign for local manufacturers competing against importers that can take advantage of the exchange rates to cut prices and offer incentives.

The company also said its marketing spend would be “at least as much” as in 2012, and would again focus not only on specific models, but on building the Mazda ‘brand’ as a whole.

One of the signs we try to do is to ensure there is a big supply of people coming into the market who say the next car they’ll buy will be a Mazda,” said Mr Dickson.

“There is a very high correlation between that and keeping your brand in front of people – not with retail advertising, but brand advertising.

“We believe it is very important to have that level of intentions, because if you don’t have those people coming in, the only way you’re going to get them is by discounting on the day, and that is far more expensive than to build up,” he said.

Mazda’s per capita sales rate in Australia is the highest in the world, with a vastly disproportionate market share compared to most other markets.

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