Speaking to CarAdvice at the Mazda technology forum in Frankfurt this week, the recently appointed boss of Mazda Australia, Vinesh Bhindi, said the outlook for the next five years remains positive for the brand.
“We still see opportunity in a growth phase, most of it is reliant on new products… stuff that will absolutely assist our plan and customer base. At the moment we have access to a very comprehensive product covering from Mazda corporation and good coverage, good line-up.” Bhindi said.
Nonetheless, that growth is also very much market-dependent and not necessarily a result solely of Mazda’s own capabilities.
“It’s not 'how much more', it all depends on the market. We believe the market is still going to grow - not at a huge rate, but our experts are calling stable growth for a five year outlook - but also some of the things Mazda corporation is planning, i think they give us a good opportunity.”
According to Bhindi, the challenges facing the industry are vast and diverse, with both the government focus on automotive as well as potential upcoming CO2 and emission regulations having a substantial impact on the sector.
“In terms of industry challenges, i think the government focus on the industry in recent times is a challenge, but they have managed to make it an industry challenge as opposed to a brand challenge. I think that is going to be evolving and we are absolutely happy to work with the government on whatever needs to change.”
Even so, Bhindi was careful to point out that government intervention was not interfering with the automotive segment.
“I am not sure 'interfering' is the word I would use. They have had a review, they will make some findings and then make some recommendations. We will work with the regulators and find what they find challenging and what should be different. We look for guidance from them in what we would like to see happen on an industry level or brand level. It's not interference.”
As for emission regulations, that potentially could have a larger impact on Mazda as the brand lags behind in the development on hybrid and electric vehicle compared to the likes of Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
“Obviously the biggest challenge to industry will be the government's position on CO2 emissions.”
Bhindi believes that Mazda’s upcoming product with next-generation of SkyActiv will address those concerns in its own unique way, helping “bring things to market before regulators have to make a call on where we need to be.”
Mazda is also hoping there will be some discussion around the fuel quality in Australia.
“91, 95 [RON], I think that’s another challenge in our market, and government position on whether fuel needs to be a bigger focus area and better quality, is something that will become topical, is my feeling.”
Mazda Australia sales are up 2.3 percent to 71,024 units for the first half of this year.