Mazda is targeting SMEs in order to retain its fleet market share this year.
“SME is a major priority for us and working in that area inevitably involves working with the dealer community very closely,” Steve Jelliss, fleet and remarketing director at Mazda, said.
“We want to be sure that our dealers are well placed and well prepared to look after the local businesses which can be a very fruitful area for them.”
Business development managers are working with Mazda dealers to “enhance their ability to do business with SMEs in their area”.
Jelliss said that over the last few years Mazda has deliberately focused on more profitable areas of the fleet market which has resulted in reduced volumes. However, he said that that strategy was in Mazda’s interests and in the interests of its dealers.
“Our fleet market share is around 1.4% and I’d like to remain in that position during the current difficult times,” he added.
Jelliss is also looking to the Mazda6 Business Line to sustain fleet business.
“That’s specifically aimed at the fleet market,” Jelliss said. “It’s one of our Mazda6 variants but it has a sat nav unit, Bluetooth and 17 inch alloy wheels. It comes in the three most popular colours that we know of in the fleet arena. And very importantly it’s 138g/km. For the 20% tax payer it’s about £60 and for a 40% tax payer it’s about £120. So this is a car that we are expecting to get some traction in the fleet arena and be of particular interest to company car drivers.”
Despite its focus on the SME sector Mazda is not ignoring other business channels.
“We have our own contract hire product and we’re working with ALD on that and we want to make the most of the availability of that channel as well,” Jelliss said.
“We certainly want to work with larger fleets as well, wherever possible. There is inevitably a financial equation to look at in those circumstances. We want to be sure that we are not only maintaining profitable business but also sustainable business.”
Jelliss is expecting the brand’s Skyactiv programme, which aims for industry-leading efficiency from conventional petrol and diesel engines, to give Mazda “a significant boost”.
“But from a product point of view that is still a little way away because that’s going to be spring next year,” he said.
LPG is also being explored with an LPG powered vehicle available at Mazda’s stand at Company Car in Action.
“It’s certainly a fuel that is of interest to a number of fleet operators,” Jelliss said.