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New York show: MX-5 RF widens Mazda buyer base

Forever young: The MX-5 RF should continue to attract younger buyers and people that had not considered an open-top car, according to MX-5 project manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto.

More youthful buyers attracted to new-gen Mazda MX-5 as ad campaign has an impact


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29 Mar 2016


MAZDA says its just-revealed MX-5 RF will help attract a more diverse group of buyers to the MX-5 stable than in previous generations, including younger consumers.

The RF – for retractable fastback – made its international debut at last week's New York motor show and while the ND-series MX-5 is already attracting a more youthful clientele, the RF is expected to continue the theme.

In its first year of launch, the MX-5 has attracted a varied buyer type and while most (28 per cent) still sit in the 50-59 age bracket, 14 per cent are aged between 20 and 29 years of age, compared to zero per cent of buyers in the previous-generation NC-series model.

Buyers aged between 30-39 have increased from seven to 13 per cent for the new model, while 50-59 and 60+ have dropped by 16 and six per cent respectively.

Mazda Motor Corporation MX-5 program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto told Australian journalists that buyer diversity was important, but it is more than about attracting younger people to the brand.

“We are aiming for a wider range of customer and I mean that in different age groups,” he said. “Because what we want to encapsulate with this car is to really let people experience the joys of open-top driving and why it's fun. In that statement I hope it captures the younger and the older.” “We want to increase the interest in cars. We are hoping there are more people that want to try the open-top motoring experience and that is what we wanted to make and that’s what we aimed for, a wider audience.” Yamamoto-san acknowledged that some of the “younger generation haven’t experienced MX-5 culture”, but added that giving young people the chance to drive and experience the car was “something we are constantly thinking about”.

He highlighted the Australian advertising and marketing campaign for the ND-series MX-5 and said it was a successful way to grab the attention of younger buyers.

“The ad campaign you did in Australia – Look Up – putting your smartphones down, your laptop down, just look up and take a moment to appreciate what's there and I think that’s something that really hits the spot.” Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak told GoAuto in New York that the company would maintain the same basic theme in promoting the MX-5 RF when it arrives within 12 months.

“We will massage our communications a little bit but essentially it is an MX-5 and as Yamamoto-san said the purity of MX-5 is still there,” he said.

“Yes it may have a slightly different flavour and look, and it's been tuned slightly differently as well but ultimately the purity of MX-5 is still there and that is the message we have been selling with the Look Up campaign which has been working very well for us.” Mr Doak said the local campaign had “resonated very well”, adding: “We are delighted with it. We have pulled in a younger audience so we are very happy.” Mazda is involved with the various chapters of the MX-5 clubs throughout Australia and Mr Doak said there were more new members engaging with the clubs after purchasing the new model.

Mr Doak said the MX-5 is the perfect car to introduce people to the Mazda brand who will then stay with the Japanese car-maker through different phases of their life.

“What we are trying to replicate is the pre-family spike and then they disappear for a while and they come back once they are empty nesters, the kids have at least grown up, got their own license and not dependent on their parents to drive them around anymore.

“It certainly happened with previous-generation cars. Certainly NA and NB. We are trying to replicate that again and get some of those younger customers.”

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