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Mazda looks to expand fleet business

Mazda is looking to grow its company car demand from outright purchase fleets and contract hire and leasing companies in 2010.

Following the tough economic conditions of the last 18 months, Peter Allibon, fleet and remarketing director at Mazda UK is looking forward to this year with renewed optimism.

He said: “I am optimistic for 2010: the Mazda6 will remain a fleet leader and demand for the Mazda3 is rising as it is included on an increasing number of company car choice lists.
“Mazda2 continues to be considered by corporate, public sector fleets and company car opt outs. Mazda MX-5 remains popular with user-choosers, meanwhile Mazda5 and new Mazda CX-7 are starting to make inroads.”

Mazda undertook a prospecting initiative in the last quarter of 2009 to drive its corporate team’s new customer appointment bookings for the first few months of 2010.

Allibon said: “Early indications from the appointments that have been carried out to date are very positive. More businesses are receptive to the prospect of dealing with Mazda on a long term basis than ever before, due to the much improved fleet focused product range that we now have on offer. This is a good indication of the opportunities available to Mazda to increase fleet business.”

Meanwhile Mazda will undertake “profitable” Motability and daily rental business in 2010 after stepping back from both sectors in recent months.

Allibon explained: “We are undertaking fleet business as a result of demand. We have not ‘pushed’ vehicles out to core fleet channels and that strategy continues this year.”

Mazda UK grew its share of the UK new car market to 2.4% in 2009, selling a total of 47,934 vehicles. Meanwhile total Mazda fleet volumes shrunk as a result of the pull back from Motability and daily rental business.

"The tough economy and fleets extending replacement cycles have obviously affected sales while our ‘core’ fleet sales accounted for more than 57% of our fleet volumes in 2009 compared with 38% in 2008. While those volumes are down almost 15% year-on-year the market is down 28%, which means that corporate interest in Mazda is strong," added Allibon.

Mazda is starting to see businesses that extended fleet replacement cycles in the recession now return to the market. As a result, the company believes it has double the opportunity to secure corporate sales this year from companies that extended cycles but will not extend again, as well as businesses that have continued with natural cycle changes.

Allibon said: "The planned April 1 shake-up in vehicle excise duty rates and the introduction of a ‘special’ first year VED rate that benefits low emission models, but hits cars with emissions above 161 g/km, means that the March plate change month will be crucial to determining the potential for sales growth this year.

"We believe the Mazda6 will lead the brand to an increased fleet market share and a rise in corporate sales. Mazda’s sustained pricing strategy, high levels of specification and strong residual values will leave us well placed to attract new customers to the brand throughout 2010."

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