This has helped Mazda record a decline of 2.2 per cent in 2008 – well below the national average of 11 per cent.
The company sold 50,000 cars in 2008, maintaining market share of 2.4 per cent. Increased sales to leasing and end-user fleets were a big part of this, rising from 4000 in 2007 to 6000 in 2008.
This is despite a ‘strategic reverse’ from unprofitable short term daily rental business – overall, Mazda fleet sales fell of 2000 units.
However, in 2009, Mazda says it will still sell 35-40 per cent of its cars to fleets. This is in line with previous years.
Initiatives include one to sell Mazda 2 models to driving schools.
It’s led the company to say its new fleet and remarketing director, Peter Allibon, is in ‘buoyant mood’ for the year ahead.
He says affordability and downsizing drivers saw Mazda 2 sales outperform his expectations in 2008, while the Mazda 6 remains a fleet mainstay, too.
’Those two cars were the lynchpin of our sales success in 2008.’
Therefore, in 2009, Mazda will realign the specifications of the Mazda 2. It will also launch a new Mazda 3 in May, which Car Dealer will be driving next month. The same month will see a facelifted version of the MX-5 sports car, too.
’In the economic climate, some fleets are shunning prestige brands because they don’t want to be seen to be ostentatious. Mazda models are understated but deliver… the next 12-18 months could provide a major opportunity for Mazda to further increase its ‘pure’ fleet market share.
‘The remarkable rise in our contract hire and user-chooser sales last year is evidence that our strategy is working, and we see that trend increasing next year.
Allibon says an increasing corporate focus on cost management will help the brand. Thus, it will, though dealers, work closely with its fleet specialist dealers to capitalise on small fleet business.
‘Mazda has worked tirelessly to encourage dealers to develop this business in recent years. The foundations to secure local corporate business have been laid with a lot of dealers and they are starting to reap success.
‘We will continue to work with them, while also encouraging more dealers to engage with corporate customers on their doorstep.