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Owners welcome Six cuts

New medium: Around 3700 MkII Mazda6s have been sold since February.

Mazda says new owners are happy with free service offer despite missing 6 price cut

Mazda logo21 Jul 2008

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

THERE has been “an overwhelming” reaction from existing customers to the paring back of its new GH-series Mazda6 mid-sizer, but Mazda concedes that there have been a few grumblings from people wanting the difference back in cash.

According to PR manager Glenn Butler, a small handful have wanted the difference in price refunded, but most have accepted the offer of free servicing and – on selected models, an increase in warranty – as a bonus.

“We’ve had plenty of feedback from (existing new Mazda6) customers, and there have been one or two that have not been impressed by the move,” Mr Butler outlined.

“But the vast majority have been very supportive of the fact that we haven’t just ignored them, that we have offered this package.

“And it’s not just an offer. It’s basically every car that’s been sold since the car’s launch this year… now has three year’s free scheduled servicing.

“They see that as: ‘Well, we weren’t expecting it and now you’ve done this for us. That’s brilliant.’ “(So it’s been) overwhelmingly positive,” Mr Butler added.

Last week Mazda carved out between $1750 (base model) and $3920 (top-line version) off the price of the entire range after a slower-than-expected sales uptake for the latest Mazda6 launched in February this year. There has been no change in specification or equipment levels.

The move sees the 6 Limited sedan opening at $27,990 for the six-speed manual model.

Mazda says the three-years free scheduled maintenance applies to the Limited and Classic models the more expensive Luxury’s free service regime extends to four years and 80,000km, while the Luxury Sport adds an extra two years to its warranty, taking it to a five-year warranty.

The goodwill offer affects around 3700 second-generation Mazda6 cars sold since launch.

Mr Butler rejects criticism that the resale value of these cars will be adversely affected, stating that the goodwill package will probably offset any price drop-related slide because of its transferability to the next owner.

“The three years of free scheduled maintenance will – we think – guard against any potential hit in resale value, certainly over the first three years of the car’s life, because the goodwill package is linked to the car and not the owner. So if they sell it after the two years the goodwill package goes with the car,” he said.

The price drop is a direct response to the new Mazda6 failing to hit its 1000 per month sales target (it has averaged around 950 per month), with Mazda keen to revive sales up beyond the new model’s launch expectations.

In June, just 807 were sold, compared to 1089 of the previous generation GG/GY series for the same month last year. Year-to-date volume is down by 914 units to 5680 compared with 2007.

And while Mazda points to a shrinking of the medium sector (under $60,000 in the VFACTS tally) that the Six competes in June, overall the segment is actually up by 1.4 percent in 2008 so far, against a 14 per cent drop in 6 sales.

“Basically it was a response to the medium car competition in the segment – our desire to stay ahead of the curve. We want to make sure that our car is the most compelling of all medium cars, not just because of dynamics and styling, but also on value.

“There’s been a lot of product activity in that (sub $60,000 medium) segment while the segment has been shrinking slightly this year, so I think it was more of a case that our share grows in a segment, and that we had to take some really aggressive steps,” Mr Butler admitted.

Mazda is also keen to point out that it did not have to act at all on behalf on existing new-model Mazda6 owners.

“It’s not a compensation package,” Mr Butler explained.

“There are no legal requirements to compensate existing owners for a price realignment. You can go out and buy a Sony TV and then the price drops by 20 per cent, and there is no legal angle for you to go back and get the difference – so what we’ve done is try and reward Six owners for coming to the party early.

“So we’re basically returning the loyalty with a goodwill package,” Mr Butler said.

* EXPECT Ford Australia to react to Mazda's shock move of slashing prices up to almost $4000 on its new Mazda6 mid-sizer by cutting prices on its acclaimed Mondeo.

Ford Australia president Bill Osborne said that Mazda's move would likely stimulate sales in the segment and admitted that Ford could change its pricing soon.

“We are always alert to any competitors’ moves on pricing,” said Mr Osborne. “With the Mazda6, we’ve seen a realignment down (and) it’s our standard policy to review and react to any relevant competitors’ price action."
2008 Mazda6 pricing – new versus old:
Limited sedan: $27,990 (was $29,740)
Limited sedan (a): $29,990 (was $31,800)
Classic sedan: $31,990 (was $33,880)
Classic sedan (a): $33,990 (was $35,940)
Luxury sedan (a): $40,990 (was $43,610)
Classic hatch: $32,990 (was $34,910)
Classic hatch (a): $34,990 (was $36,970)
Luxury hatch (a): $41,990 (was $44,640)
Luxury Sports hatch: $40,990 (was $44,650)
Luxury Sports hatch(a): $42,990 (was $46,910)
Classic wagon (a): $35,490 (was $37,520)

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