Fleet News

Mazda turns up the heat on fleet sales

MAZDA is raising its fleet profile before the June launch of the new Mazda6 with the opening of the new Mazda Business Centre and the development of a customer database.

The move is part of its strategy to boost its fleet performance over the next two years to reach more than 11,000 units by 2003.

Jeremy Thomson, Mazda fleet and remarketing director, said the brand had underperformed in the corporate sector in recent years, but had already begun the process of recovery.

The company has set up the Mazda Business Centre and is developing its customer database before the launch of the new car.

But, despite strong ties with Ford, the database will be unique to Mazda and will not be shared in the same way that Ford, Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar share customer information.

Thomson told Fleet News: 'Our staff will be sitting alongside staff from Ford, Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar and we will be able to take advantage of joint purchasing power, and we will be able to exploit synergies between the brands in terms of back office staff.

'We have been lucky in that we haven't had to create something from scratch. 'Although some deals might involve other brands on a supply level, these will be initiated by the customer. Everything from our database, our marketing and other 'front-of-shop' activities will be kept unique to Mazda and relevant to our individual customers.'

Mazda's fleet sales from January to July last year reached 1,716 as the transition from its then distributor to Mazda Motors Europe took place, while the rest of the year resulted in an extra 3,829 sales.

The company is hoping 2002 fleet sales (plus 25) will reach 7,800, on the way to more than 11,000 in 2003 - about 30% of its total sales.

Thomson said Mazda will re-enter the daily rental market with the Mazda6 in limited numbers and will buy back each car.

He said: 'We think it will be beneficial to have our new product being seen by corporate customers on the road clean and full of fuel.'

MAZDA dealers will be able to focus on the launch of the new Mazda6 as the company's run-out strategy with the 626 nears its end.

The Mazda6 - a challenger for the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Vectra - will go on sale in June and according to Mazda fleet and remarketing manager Jeremy Thomson will give dealers the opportunity to re-engage with fleets.

Thomson said: 'There is no question of distress marketing the 626. Our run-out strategy has been in place for some time and some dealers are already finding them in short supply.'

The Mazda6 is the first all-new model to come from the company since Mazda Motors Europe took control of the brand in the UK and will be followed next year by the high-performance RX-8.

Thomson said all versions of the Mazda6 will come with alloy wheels, electric windows and colour-coded bumpers and mirrors as standard, and there will be four levels of specification.

Mazda is aiming to be a class-leader in terms of safety and security, although its target is a four-star rating in the Euro-NCAP crash tests.

There will be a choice of three four-cylinder petrol engines ranging from a 115bhp 1.8-litre to a 162bhp 2.3-litre. There will also be a 2.0-litre common rail diesel with a choice of two power outputs - 118bhp or 134bhp.

Although it was Mazda's ambition to launch the Mazda6 with a Euro IV compliant diesel, the company now says it cannot be achieved until later in the model's life. The RX-8, to be launched in spring 2003, will be a four-door, four-seat coupe, powered by a 250bhp 1.3-litre rotary engine.

Thomson believes the car, which is expected to cost less than £30,000, will prove popular with user-choosers because of its full four-seat capability.

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