News - Mazda
Mazda’s upbeat sales forecasts
900,000 units still possible this year, says Mazda boss
23 Mar 2009
MAZDA is cautiously confident the new-car market may do better than expected in 2009, despite the industry’s 20.2 per cent drop in the first two months.
Officially, the company is forecasting a figure of about 850,000 new-vehicle sales this year, but up to 895,000 units in 2009 is a possibility, according to Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson at the launch of the facelifted MX-5 roadster in Victoria last week.
The Mazda prediction contrasts against the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ year-to-date seasonally adjusted forecast of 863,000 new-vehicle sales, made in the aftermath of the low January and February results, which combined were down 20.2 per cent or 34,848 units, to 137,320 units, compared with the same period in 2008.
“You have to remember that (the 2009 year-to-date sales decline of) 20 per cent (against the first two months of) 2008 is off the two best-ever months ever in the industry,” Mr Dickson said.
“To put this into perspective, for year-to-date, the industry has done about 137,000, and that’s midway between the 128,000 total achieved in 2003 and 140K achieved in 2004.
“And for what it’s worth, in both of those years, the industry ended up being better than what we call in the industry the primary. In 2003 it was 909,000 and in 2004 it was 955,000.
“(If 2009 sales figure total ends up being) somewhere between those two then I think the industry is doing very well.”
Mr Dickson believes that rising consumer confidence in the private sector will underpin a stronger-than-expected new-car market in Australia.
“Consumer confidence – we track this on a weekly basis, and the latest word … is that it has lifted marginally, but we are expecting a more positive personal situation in the next year, and expectations about the broader economy are picking up.”
Backing this is an expected lift in household appliance purchasing, according to Mazda’s research, as well as improvements in “personal situations” over the next 12 to 24 months, that should begin to bring customers back into new-car showrooms.
“After next year we are expecting things to really pick up,” Mr Dickson stated.
Mazda believes that consumer confidence tracks closely with private vehicle sales.
“When consumer confidence dropped, so did private buyer sales, and both are on the way up,” Mr Dickson said. “That’s good news for us.”
Mazda is striving to build on last year’s market share increase from 7.4 to 7.9 per cent, stating that 8.0 per cent was the 2009 target.
This should equate to between 69,000 and 70,000 units this year, compared with 79,826 units in 2008, when Mazda was one of the few top 10 brands to sell more cars than it did in 2007, picking up an extra 2092 sales.
However, Mr Dickson warned that, after adjusting stocks down to the much lower levels forecast for 2009, Mazda might not be able to “turn on the tap” quickly should customers increase.
“One of the things that we do have to remember is that the ability for smaller brands like us to actually ramp up production is not that great.
“If things pleasantly improve, I’m not sure we can raise production quickly enough at this present time.” Mazda is banking on continuing high demand for its new-generation Mazda3 small car due out next month, as well as the facelifted CX-7 SUV and Mazda3 MPS models slated for the latter half of 2009.
Nevertheless, hitting the number-one sales spot again, as the Mazda3 did in January, is highly unlikely, according to Mr Dickson, who said fleets were out of the market in January and that many brands – “us included” – were having large stock-clearing sales.
Read more:Melbourne show: Mazda3, MX-5 specs confirmed
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