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Mazda sets steady course for 2016

Corporate upgrade: Mazda Australia will shift out of its existing 15-year-old headquarters in Melbourne’s south-east, as the company expands its sales and staff.

2016 to be year of consolidation for Mazda, with new HQ set to open in March

Mazda logo3 Nov 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

MAZDA Australia managing director Martin Benders says 2016 will be a year of consolidation for the car-maker, with few major launches but a full year of CX-3 supply ensuring a stable year of sales.

In terms of overall sales this year, Mr Benders said Mazda would exceed 110,000 units by the end of 2015, beating the 2014 tally of 100,704 by almost 10 per cent.

Currently Mazda is in second spot for year-to-date sales on 85,977, behind a dominant Toyota on 149,653, and ahead of Hyundai (77,426) and Holden (76,828).

The only major launch expected in 2016 is the all-new CX-9 before the middle of the year, although there is a chance the Koeru concept-based CX-4 crossover could make it to market before next year is out.

The CX-3 will have its first full year on sale, and top sellers such as the Mazda3 and the CX-5 are expected to continue their solid form, but Mr Benders said it would be unlikely that the company would see much overall growth in 2016.

“We will be looking to stabilise again there,” he told GoAuto at the company’s global HQ in Hiroshima. “That’s how we have grown over the last 15 years. We have sort of stepped up. With no significant new model coming in next year, in the sense of additional models, then I think we can stabilise where we are.

“We have a few things happening but I think it will be a year of consolidation for us and from then on we start thinking about next generation (models) and all that other stuff.”

Mr Benders confirmed that Mazda Australia will move into a new modern headquarters next year as the company expands its business, along with its sales volume and market share in Australia.

The Japanese car-maker will shift from its current location on Ferntree Gully Road in the south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Notting Hill to a new larger building just around the corner in March or April next year.

“We moved into our existing building when we were selling 20-25,000 units (per year) for 10 years,” he said. “We have grown to 100,000-plus. We have added people and the building we went into was designed for just that many people.

“We have kept adding people and they were just sort of pushing up against it.

It’s getting towards 15 years old.”

Mr Benders said the new building will bring all of Mazda Australia’s staff back into the one building, and it will include a showroom that will have a museum section for classic Mazdas.

“We have got about 15 cars so we can rotate them in one part, then in the other part there will be two or three of our latest models,” he explained.

The move comes as Mazda opens two new dealerships – one in Melbourne and one in Perth – by the end of this year, with a further four coming on stream next year.

While he said he had confidence in the Australian dealer network, Mr Benders added that Mazda was looking at ways to improve the customer experience in showrooms, possibly through the use of technology such as tablets and other options.

“It’s an area of focus we are working on at the moment. We have got some ideas of things we can put in the showroom,” he said.

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