Fleet sales accounted for around 35% of the firm’s 50,166 sales in 2006 – and now Mazda has appointed a new fleet and remarketing director to push sales further.
James Hopkins takes over from Adam Pumfrey, who has taken up a similar role at Fiat Auto UK.
Hopkins, who joins from Ford Financial Hungary where he was managing director, wants Mazda’s 158 dealers to focus on securing more corporate business.
He said: ‘Historically we have been retail-orientated, but we have become more fleet-focused and some of our dealers have reaped the benefits.
‘I want more of our dealers to share in our corporate sales success by actively pursuing businesses closer to their operations.’
He added: ‘Mazda has done fantastically well in securing user-chooser business and because of our sports car heritage I believe we can reap further success as company car drivers look for something different from the mainstream.’
Hopkins sees real potential in fleet for the MX-5 Roadster Coupe and the CX-7 SUV, despite the fact that it will only be available with a petrol engine initially.
Also new from the firm this year will be a supermini to replace the unloved Mazda2 in June. Insiders say the new version conforms more to the sector norm than the slightly awkward current model.
Hopkins said: ‘My mission is to get even more user-choosers to experience a Mazda and we plan to organise more ride and drive events and work with our dealers to ensure cars are available to local businesses to test.
‘It’s an exciting time to be joining Mazda with record sales, fantastic new product coming this year, new fleet initiatives in the pipeline and a dealer network that is hungry for more success.’
Hopkins is also working on the imminent launch of a new remarketing initiative to deal with two to three-year-old vehicles coming back into the dealer network.