07/06/14/ - Update: Mazda Australia : "We are not putting prices up"
Mazda has ruled out the possibility of launching a separate premium brand, instead focusing on gradually becoming a premium brand itself.
Speaking with Australian media including CarAdvice in Hiroshima, Japan, Mazda representative director and vice chairman of the board Seita Kanai said the company learnt from its mistakes in trying to run two different brands in the 1990s.
“To be honest we had that already and we kind of failed creating that Eunos brand along with the Mazda brand,” Kanai said.
“One of the reasons we failed back then was our technology was poor, to be honest. Another reason we failed was we didn’t have enough resources back then. We didn’t have enough experienced people and enough money.”
With the brand now more profitable than ever, it’s focusing on investing back into itself in a single-channel strategy.
Instead of launching a premium brand, such as Lexus for Toyota, Infiniti for Nissan and Acura for Honda, Kanai says Mazda, which is already perceived in Australia as more premium than some other mainstream Japanese brands, will slowly bring itself up to more premium standards.
“A direction we’re taking is to offer a premium sort of product and charge a premium sort of price. That is something we’d like to do some time in the future.”
Nonetheless, he confirmed that it would not be up to the company to decide when it has become a premium brand.
“Mazda cannot decide if our products are premium enough. That’s something that our customers will [eventually] decide.”
“At Mazda what we are doing is develop Mazda-brand vehicles that are very close to premium. The prices may be gradually creeping up to the premium brands eventually, that is something we would like to do.”
In Australia, Mazda charges a small premium for its cars compared with other Japanese brands but its standard of design, sophistication and features have been a hit in our market with the Mazda 3 consistently the first or second best-selling car in Australia while the CX-5 continues as the best-selling SUV.