##rx8--right--Rob Lindley and RX-8##
Mazda UK plans to increase its sales by a third in Britain this year on the back of two new models to join the Mazda6, launched in the middle of 2002. It will also be relying on the continuing strong sales performance of the MX-5.
Marketing director Rob Lindley said that with the arrival of the Mazda2 small car in March and the RX-8 sports car in July, Mazda is looking to push sales up from 29,000 last year to 39,000 in 2003.
Sales of the Mazda2 will be restricted, however, as it is reliant on production line availability at the factory it shares with the Ford Fiesta in Valencia, Spain.
"Our volume expectations for the Mazda2 are quite modest," said Lindley. "We will only be able to get around 4,500 vehicles a year from the factory but I don't see that as a great problem. This is a very competitive sector of the market and the profit margins are lower. I would rather we had sales pull for the vehicle rather than a production push."
The Mazda2 will be powered by 1.6, 1.4 and 1.2-litre petrol engines plus a 1.4-litre common rail diesel engine for the first time. "This means we will be able to have both sporty and economical versions of the car, something we never had with Demio," said Lindley.
The launch of the Mazda2 will be backed by a £3 million television advertising campaign starting in March.