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Mazda6 set to drive medium growth

Hitting a 6: Launch timing of the new Mazda6 will lead to a hot medium segment in Australia, according to Mazda Australia.

New Mazda6 mid-sizer expected to steal sales from other classes, says Mazda boss

Mazda logo24 Oct 2012

UPDATED: 25/10/2012MAZDA believes its new-generation Mazda6 range, available in Australia from December 3, will lead to a medium segment sales surge in Australia, fuelled by good design and value pricing.

According to Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson, Australian medium sedan and wagon buyers tend to be transient, often migrating to and from smaller and larger vehicles in line with what is new on the market.

Mr Dickson also believes the 6 will be helped along by a host of other medium newcomers due next year such as the redesigned Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, Holden Malibu, Nissan Altima and Skoda Octavia to snare sales away from the small class below and large car market above.

This is precisely what happened in the early-to-mid 2000s when the original Mazda6 was joined by the Honda Accord Euro and Subaru Liberty/Outback.

Medium segment volume is up a healthy 16.3 per cent in the first nine months of this year due to strong showings from relatively recent products, led by the redesigned Toyota Camry – up 22.9 per cent YTD and the undisputed market leader with more than 17,000 sales and a dominant 32.5 per cent share of the segment.

22 center imageLeft: Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Matthew Callachor told GoAuto at the Sydney motor show earlier this month that Camry sales had remained strong throughout October and that there was no reason to see it falling off in the months ahead.

“That’s a vote of confidence in Australian manufacturing that there’s that many people out there that are buying the vehicles,” he said.

The repositioned Accord Euro has bounced back from last year’s natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, cracking 1000 units a month on two occasions this year to be 55.4 per cent ahead YTD – and in second place in the segment, with 5380 sales and a 10.8 per cent share.

The current Mazda6, now in run-out, is up 20.4 per cent with 4934 units and a 9.9 per cent share, while Ford’s current Mondeo is down 25 per cent this year (with 3920 sales).

Mondeo is clinging to fourth place in the segment YTD, just 138 units clear of a much-improved Volkswagen Passat (up 53.4 per cent YTD), with Subaru’s Liberty not far behind on 3412 sales (up 5.9 per cent).

Other stronger performers this year include the VW Jetta (up 87 per cent YTD with 1997 sales), the Kia Optima (up 154.3 per cent with 1620 units), and Hyundai’s i40 wagon and recently introduced sedan, which have found 1659 new homes and provided strong support for the i45 range (down 21.2 per cent with 2895 sales).

Opel Australia managing director Bill Mott has also said early Insignia enquiry is encouraging.

According to Mr Dickson, “if you have a compelling product – and we did this back when the first Mazda6 came through in 2002, where we attracted buyers from other segments – (you can) actually drive the segment”.

“When the first Mazda6 was launched there were also some other products – the first Honda Accord Euro came out and between them there was also a nice Subaru – and between the three of us we drew a lot of interest into that segment,” he said.

“And there is no reason why this car can’t do the same. I think there are some other new ones coming through at the same time. So we’re very confident.”

Mr Dickson is not discouraged by the lack of a Mazda6 hatchback in the new generation – the first mid-sizer his company has offered without a liftback since the rear-drive 626 range was discontinued in late 1982 – since the sedan was styled to appeal to traditional hatch buyers.

“The hatchback has always been a popular choice because of its high style, and I believe this sedan is higher styled than any previous Mazda6 hatchback or 626 hatchback we have ever produced,” he said.

“So I think this (sedan) will be a very popular car.

“The wagon has always been there, and it has probably been for a more utilitarian buyer, and tends to rise in popularity and in the model mix only when the others are not doing too well. It tends to be at a fairly stable number.

“The high style is now a big drawcard for the Mazda6, and I think we’ve nailed it, and will result in the sedan being the top seller between the two styles.”

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