By beating Holden in the 2015 sales race, Mazda has become the first full-line vehicle importer to crack the top-two in the Australian market for a full calendar year.
The Japanese brand sold 114,024 vehicles in 2015, representing healthy growth of 13.2 per cent over 2014. This propelled the company from bronze to silver, given local hero Holden shrunk 3 per cent to 102,951.
In fact, former market leader Holden only managed to attain third place via a big December result. Hyundai, with 102,004 sales in 2015 (up 2 per cent), finished the year breathing down the Lion’s neck, and up until the end of November was actually ahead.
Mazda Australia is one of the company’s biggest world regions, and the only where it is a top two brand. Its market share is a remarkable 9.9 per cent. One in ten of all vehicles sold in Australia in 2015 was a Mazda.
Even more interestingly, the double digit growth in 2015 came despite a drop of 10.8 per cent on its most popular model, the Mazda 3 small car, which managed 38,644 units. This drop reflects an overall small car segment drop in the face of small and medium SUVs.
The big drivers of Mazda’s growth came from the CX-5 (up 16.5 per cent to 25,136), Mazda 2 (up 8.1 per cent to 14,511), BT-50 (13,500, up 3.3 per cent), CX-3 (12,656 units, all incremental as it’s a new model line), Mazda CX-9 (3384, up 1.2 per cent despite imminent replacement) and the all-new MX-5 (917, up 677 per cent).
The only Mazda outside the Mazda 3 to drop was the Mazda 6, down 10.3 per cent to 5276.
We spoke this morning to Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders to get his thoughts on this significant achievement.
How important is it to Hiroshima (your headquarters) that you’re the first full importer brand in Australia to ever crack the top two?
It is a significant achievement for Mazda in Australia, and I know that all the staff at Mazda’s headquarters in Japan are delighted with this result.
In addition to the market share and ranking achievements, they are also very happy that we are building a strong Mazda brand, with improved brand appeal to our retail buyer target customers.
Is it in the realm of customer retention where your success really lies?
Our success is due to many different aspects of our business.
Our customer retention is improving, and we are also achieving increased demand appeal from our product line up and our dealer reputation.
Will you maintain the range and stay #2 in 2016?
We will stay committed to our customers to deliver great products and a rewarding ownership experience. We focus on this, rather than a position on the sales leader board.
Will small car sales keep contracting at a similar rate, and will CX-3/CX-5 continue to sufficiently plug the gap?
The global “love affair” with the SUV does not appear to be ending soon. We expect both CX-3 and CX-5 to continue to deliver strong sales in 2016 – along with an all-new CX-9 that will arrive mid-year.
The Mazda 3 is still a very important vehicle, and will continue to be ongoing. Our focus will be retaining our share for our core and high grade SP25 models where we are leading the competition.