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Mazda ‘well placed to ride out recession'

Quick response has helped Mazda ride the recession so far better than most of its rivals, says James Muir, president of Mazda Motors Europe.

Muir told journalists at the Bologna Motor Show: “We've been able to respond quickly because we're nimble.

"We've taken out production and cut our forecasts so that we are not pushing product into the dealerships."

Muir said he was cutting forecasts for the next two years and the objective is to maintain or grow market share but at “considerably reduced volumes”.

Mazda is expecting the European market will be down by between 20 and 25% next year, which equates to between three and four million cars.

Muir said: "That's a heck of a lot of cars whether you have a 2% or a 10% market share.

"We're planning for the worst and hoping for the best. Markets across Europe are dropping at or above 30%. Maybe 2009 won't be as severe as we've had for the last few months."

Muir said the first of 2008 had been very good for Mazda in Europe, running ahead of revenue and profit by as much as 17% over the first half of 2007.

He said: "It's all driven by new product. I expect the new Mazda3 to sell around 100,000 units across Europe in a full year, about the same as Mazda2 and slightly more than Mazda6.

"I'm very excited about this car. The design is a good evolution of the current model and under the skin the changes make it a much sportier car to drive without losing the comfort."

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