Following its unveiling at the Paris Motor Show in September, Mazda launched its new upper-medium model at the beginning of the year with assurances it would help return the brand to its former glories, denied for many years as the brand suffers from years of falling market share and dealer confidence as a result of a lack of new product.
The all-new Mazda6 gives dealers an opportunity to re-engage with the estimated 300,000 drivers who have owned the model since the first generation was launched more than a decade ago.
A January launch meant March was lined up as a prime time for sales, only dealers were asked not to register vehicles in the last month due to a recall.
Despite this upset, Mazda6 sales are ahead of plan: 8,255 units forecast to find customers this year as opposed to the original estimate of 7,100.
March registrations were down on plan, but April caught up and May has put dealers back on track.
Mazda believes its total (financial) year sales will grow from 26,200 in 2012 to more than 31,000 units on the basis of a ‘product-led’ recovery which began with the CX-5 last year.
There was also a staggered launch of ‘the 6’, with the Tourer first followed by the saloon a month later.
“The dealers’ reaction to the all-new Mazda6 has been overwhelming,” said Mazda UK sales director Peter Allibon.
He is forecasting a sales split 65-35 in favour of the saloon.
“Sales of the previous generation Mazda6 were split fairly evenly between private and business customers,” he added.
“However, the new Mazda6, which has class-leading CO2 emissions from just 108g/km, is expected to be even more tempting for business drivers.
“Historically, Mazda6 has not been a rep’s car, so there’s no stigma attached to it.
"With the Mazda6, owners can be individual because BMW and Audi are the new volume players in this segment of the fleet market.”
He said the weekly order take for fleet vehicles is close to the levels of the previous generation Mazda6 when the segment was much larger.
Mazda’s corporate demonstrator fleet had also been tripled in size to meet demand.
Dealers have a 13% margin to play with. Profit per unit is double for the new car than what it was for the previous model.
And excluded from 6 sales is a 3% sales performance margin and target achievement bonus to prevent dealers discounting list price.
Some dealers also exclude the other 4% of variable dealer margin and only include how much of the 6% fixed margin has been retained.
During the same period last year, the outgoing Mazda6 went into run-out phase and was set at a fixed handling fee of between £600 and £900 with the average dealer retaining around £700.
Prices for petrol models start at £19,595 on-the-road for the 2.0-litre 145 saloon SE, rising to £24,865 for the 2.0-litre 165 Tourer Sport Nav.
Diesel models start at £21,795 for the 2.2-litre 150 saloon SE through to £28,045 for the 2.2-litre 175 Tourer Sport Nav Auto.
All models are available with free seven-day drive away insurance.
First seen in the CX-5, the Mazda6 is equipped with the ultra-efficient Skyactiv engines: two petrol and two diesels paired to six-speed automatic or manual transmissions. Skyactiv-G petrol engines include the 2.0-litre 145 and the 2.0-litre 165.
Skyactiv-D diesel engines include the 2.2-litre 150 and the 2.2-litre 175.
The new Mazda6 – now in its third generation – is the first mass-production Mazda model to be equipped with i-eloop, the Japanese company’s unique brake energy regeneration system.
Fitted as standard to the majority of Mazda6 models, this system can boost economy by up to 10%, depending on driving conditions.
“I-eloop combines with the ‘i-stop’ idle-stop system and Skyactiv engines, chassis and body – first
introduced on the Mazda CX-5 – and positions the new Mazda6 as the benchmark for fuel economy and CO2.
“With combined fuel economy as high as 67.3mpg and emissions as low as 108g/km – without any sacrifice in performance – based on CO2, the Mazda6 is the new class leader,” said Allibon.
Dependent on model, the new Mazda6 features advanced safety equipment such as radar-based rear vehicle monitoring, smart city brake support (SCBS) and lane departure warning system.
Mazda6 SE-L and Sport models, which are fitted with SCBS as standard, benefit from a drop in insurance group rating – up to five groups lower for diesel-powered models and six groups lower for petrol-powered versions than the previous model.
In the interior, the A-pillars have been moved backwards by 10cm relative to the previous model, widening the driver’s field of view.
Standard specification includes 17-inch alloy wheels, door mirrors with integrated indicator lights, manual air-conditioning, engine start-stop button, front and rear power windows, trip computer, single CD/radio with four speakers, USB, iPod & aux jack connectivity, hill hold assist, tyre pressure monitoring system, integrated Bluetooth, 5.8-inch colour touch screen and cruise control.
SE Nav adds integrated TomTom navigation. SE-L from SE adds dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, privacy glass, power-folding door mirrors, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing front wipers, two additional speakers and smart city braking.
And Sport adds 19-inch alloys, bi-xenon headlights, adaptive front lighting, reversing camera, full leather trim, power adjustable driver and front passenger seats, heated front seats, smart entry system and a Bose® surround sound system with 11 speakers.
Upsell options include a safety pack, including four features, for £700, radar cruise control at £800, light stone leather (instead of black leather) for £200 and paint upgrades from £520.