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Mazda SUV supply shortage impacts sales

High 5: The Mazda CX-5 is Australia’s best-selling SUV, despite supply issues hampering a stronger sales result this year.

Global CX-5 demand hits Aussie sales but better supply to boost Mazda in 2018

7 Dec 2017

MAZDA Australia has admitted that SUV supply shortages have hindered sales this year, but the company says it is confident it can hit 120,000 units in 2018 to retain its position as the country’s second most popular car-maker.

Mazda Australia senior manager digital and loyalty Steve MacIver said the backlog of SUV production had now been freed at the factory, but not before hurting local sales.

“Mazda SUVs have been in huge demand in Australia and across the world, resulting in limits to supply, which has affected our sales here in Australia,” he said at a media event in Sydney this week.

“We are not complaining about demand – it’s a good problem to have – but we have taken steps to address the supply issues, with MMC (Mazda Motor Corporation) enhancing the production capabilities to increase stock supply from both the Hiroshima and Hofu plants, which is great news for customers eager to get into their CX-5s.”

While the supply issues have impacted all Mazda SUV models, Mr MacIver said it was the CX-5 mid-sizer that arrived in Australia in March that has been hit the hardest.

“The main issue for us was probably CX-5. CX-5 has proven to be massively popular globally, more so than any other SUV, particularly in Europe, and it’s going well in US.

“When those markets are going well it does become a bit of a challenge for us.

We have freed up, we are getting more production of CX-5, so we think there is further opportunity on CX-5.”

Mr MacIver said Mazda Australia had no plans to source the CX-5 from any other location outside of Japan, and added that the company lost some sales from people who were not willing to endure a long wait for their CX-5.

“Customers are always happy to wait for a certain length of time, but when it gets beyond a certain threshold, customers will choose to walk away and go elsewhere, and I think we have seen a little bit of that.

“But we are comfortable we have got plenty of supply coming through now so customers don’t have to wait too long.”

Mazda has sold 23,718 CX-5s to the end of November this year, representing a 4.7 per cent lift over the same period in 2016.

The figure puts it at the top of the SUV sales ladder in Australia so far this year, but Hyundai’s popular Tucson is nipping at its heels with 22,522 sales in the same period, which is a 20 per cent lift over the first 11 months of 2016.

In overall sales, Mr MacIver said Mazda was expecting another strong year in 2018 as it looks to maintain its market share.

“With the industry projected to be 1.2 million sales in 2018, our forecast for the next calendar year is for Mazda to continue to hold share at around 10 per cent, equating to overall sales from Mazda next year of about 120,000.”

Last year Mazda finished with 118,217 sales, a 3.7 per cent lift over its 2015 tally.

SUV models make up 45 per cent of Mazda’s sales in Australia and, as reported, the company is actively working on a business case for the seven-seat diesel-only CX-8 crossover that was revealed at this year’s Tokyo motor show.

“CX-8 is still under discussion,” Mr McIver confirmed. “We are looking at it.

We have a tradition of having a wide variety of vehicles here in Australia.

“We have always taken most vehicles that have been made available to us previously. We are doing the numbers on CX-8 right now and we will be able to make an announcement on that probably early in the New Year.”

He added that there might be some cannibalisation from other products such as the CX-9 to the CX-8, but suggested that the case was looking positive for the big crossover to be offered Down Under.

“We do understand when we bring some products in there is always an element of cannibalisation shall we say,” he said.

“I think we had that same situation when we talked about CX-3. We knew there was going to be an element of people jumping from other Mazda products.

“And we did say at that time we would be very happy to get incremental volume out of that car, and that is exactly what happened.

“So I think we will still need to do the numbers, work out where it sits in the market, what the demand will be with that car compared with CX-9. If we can make that work, there is every chance we can bring it to market.”

Meanwhile, Mr MacIver confirmed that Mazda Australia has fixed 74.3 per cent of vehicles impacted by the Takata airbag inflator recall, and that the team was working tirelessly to identify the remaining vehicles.

“The challenge we have now is trying to get to the rest of the rest of the consumers.”

he said. “We have been trawling many, many different sources to get all of our customer details through to make sure we can contact customers.

“If you have got an RX-8 from 2004 or 2005 that’s been sold five or six times, we could have lost track of that car, the registration authorities don’t have it, no one has it, so that’s where it becomes difficult.

“We have basically, at this stage, left no stone unturned. That said we do have to try and get to those remaining customers so we are going to have to try and find new and better ways to do it.

“There are people we just cannot get a hold of. We can write to them five, six, seven, eight times, but we are not getting anyone responding. So at that point we have to try and look at different methods to get their attention and I guess that is the stage we are at.”

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