Mazda is confident of overtaking Holden this year to become the second highest selling vehicle manufacturer in Australia – and it has no intentions of slowing down in the future.
Mazda Australia sold a record number of vehicles in the first seven months of this year (65,947 sales), and while Toyota remains dominant (118,554), Mazda’s strong performance puts it more than 6000 sales clear of Holden (59,632) and more than 7000 ahead of next-best Hyundai (58,610) with just five months to go.
Mazda’s 10.0 per cent growth in 2015 is the best of any brand inside the top seven sellers, and is more than three times the 3.2 per cent industry average growth.
Despite the ostensible appeal of being the number two brand in the market, Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak downplayed its significance, insisting that reaching the company’s own sales goals independent of the competition was most important to the local division and Mazda head office in Japan.
“You can never be 100 per cent [certain], but what is it, 5000 or 6000 [sales] ahead? So to make up that ground in the second half of the year would be pretty difficult,” Doak said.
“Ultimately does it really matter? Not really. We have our sales target; we’ll meet it. We’re comfortably on track for that, that’s the thing that really counts.
“[Mazda HQ is] always surprised at just how strong we are in Australia, but they really look at market share and sales volume. Sales volume is what you build your budget around, so that’s what they’re really interested in.
“We’re on record pace and we’re probably even stronger than we imagined we would be at this point, so they’re pretty happy with that.”
Mazda is on track to sell close to 111,000 vehicles in Australia this year, bettering last year’s 100,704 result and exceeding its all-time record of 103,886 set in 2012.
Rival Holden will battle to reach 100,000 sales in 2015, having dropped 9.3 per cent so far this year. The result makes its goal of becoming the top-selling brand in the country by the beginning of the next decade even more ambitious (and seemingly misguided) than before.
Meanwhile, Hyundai’s growth has been largely steady this year, with sales up just 1.1 per cent to the end of July.
It may seem surprising that sales of both the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 are down more than 10 per cent this year, though a look across to Mazda’s SUV ranks suggests buyers are merely favouring crossovers rather than walking away from its cars entirely.
The mid-sized Mazda CX-5 is the top-selling SUV in the country, averaging 2100 sales per month this year on the back of 14.0 per cent growth.
The compact CX-3 has been the biggest addition, however. Though Mazda has sold 2693 fewer Mazda 3s this year than last, it has sold 5535 CX-3s since February, more than making up for the dip from its popular small car.
Doak anticipates another boost when the all-new CX-9 goes on sale locally sometime next year.
With no other entirely new nameplates in the pipeline, Doak says the next significant development that will help it achieve “steady growth” over the coming years is the expansion of its dealer network.
“We’re putting on some new dealers, which for us is very unusual. It’s the first time we’ve done it in a long, long time.
“We’re adding five or six dealers, and we’re doing that in the growth corridors. We’re not splitting up any current dealer market areas, it’s really growth, and that could potentially add 5000 units.”
Doak confirmed new dealerships in Perth and Melbourne before the end of the year, and another one each for Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in 2016.
“The prediction for the Australian market is for it to steadily grow, and we expect to steadily grow with it.
“Ultimately our focus has got to be on customers and customer satisfaction and getting that right. We’ve got a good track record there but we know we can do better, so that’s where our focus will be.
“Hopefully Australians will continue to warm to our brand, and hopefully we can keep delivering.”