Mazda is creating a new corporate sales team charged with boosting sales to sub-100 car fleets.
“We are frustrated we can’t get more of a share of fleet,” explains Mazda MD Jeremy Thomson. “We have not been aggressive enough in some areas.”
That, he says, is about to change.
“We are going to work with our dealers and get in front of sub-100 fleets to generate interest in Mazda. Up until now we have been focussed on 100+ fleets,” he said. “We are adding a new strand, although we will remain in contract hire and lease – there is no move away from these areas.”
The Japanese manufacturer currently has a 1.3% share of the fleet market and aims to grow that “sustainably” to over 2% by the end of the year using the new corporate team which will be split regionally to work with dealers in each area.
The new team, which will be established in May, will focus on small fleets, which are fast becoming the target for almost every manufacturer as they search for new buyers to pick up the slack when the scrappage scheme ends in two weeks.
“SME fleets are the panacea,” he says. “We want a 5,000 unit increase in fleet sales across all channels but the volume of that will be to SME.”
Mazda says it has the advantage of a partnership with Santander bank, meaning it can offer attractive contract hire and personal contract hire rates through its dealers.
“We also have the benefit of Mazda6 which is a fleet favourite and the new Mazda3 which is starting to get fleet stability,” said Thomson. “Our cars also enjoy strong RVs and the new SKY engines will bring improved CO2 and fuel economy.”
The SKY engines will offer 30% improved economy, claims Mazda.
Despite its appetite for fleet, Mazda is still a retail-dominant brand with 70% of its sales going to private motorists. “This is a bonus for fleets – it proves there is a desire for our cars on the open market and this means they will be easier to sell on.”
Despite this, Mazda wants its sales to be split 65/35 in favour of retail.
The manufacturer is also keeping a presence in short-term rental and Motability. At its peak, the Japanese manufacturer put some 3,000 cars into daily rental but that has fallen to less than 1,000. “We have a flexible approach to short-term rental,” said Thomson. “We never say never and our philosophy is to put our best cars into daily rental nor the least attractive.”
Motability sales are also down, although still account for 2,500 to 3,000 sales a year. “I’d like to do more in Motability,” said Thomson, despite the fact that sales into the channel receive “substantial Mazda support”.
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