Mazda is being hit by a double whammy right now: the ongoing impact on production of the tsunami disaster in its homeland and, as dealers recently highlighted in an AM Roundtable debate, a lack of ‘all-new’ product which is now, in these days of rapid product cycles, the lifeblood of a brand in the eyes of a demanding consumer.
SMMT new car registration figures for May showed a fall of 38% year-on-year and in June 29.8%, the worst of the volume Japanese brands.
If Mazda ever needed the oft-quoted halo effect of the MX-5 then the time is now.
Sales of the car are down year-on-year (3,108 to June compared to 2,389), but 2010 was the car’s 20th birthday and the partying drew in the customers.
A glimmer of hope is the car’s ability to draw in different people from differing social strata.
At the one end it’s an aspirational car for those choosing from volume manufacturers and Mazda research reveals the MX-5 is on the shopping list with the Fiat 500 and Peugeot 207CC.
At the other end, the car is competing against the Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Mini Con-vertible (there is a rumour BMW took apart an MX-5 when it was planning the Mini).
The greatest proportion of sales is in the high-end Sport Tech spec, giving some sure signs of the success of the car among those with higher disposable income and shows how the volume/premium tag can be applied within a single brand.
The current surge in premium brand sales should prove a boon to MX-5 sales, therefore.
The car does inspire some enviable emotions among its owners.
On the same day I was writing this a friend wrote this about hers: “I’ve never felt this way about a lump of metal before. She puts a big smile on my face.”
And take a look at the owners’ club website at mx5oc.co.uk
There are some amazing comments made about it, including this one: “Two weeks ago my wife’s Merc burst into flames for no obvious reason and burned my beloved MX-5 parked next to it
"Today I accepted the insurance company’s offer which means I’m going shopping – for another one of course.”
There are two new special edition MX-5s available now, the 1.8 Kendo priced £19,270 and 2.0 Kendo Roadster Coupé priced £22,335.
They are based on the SE, with the Kendo getting stone leather interior, new 17-inch alloys, exterior badging and floor mats, front fogs, heated seats and the latter, a Bose sound system, Bluetooth and cruise control. The UK will get 1,100 Kendo models.
Finance offers are available until the end of September.
Across the range there are up to £2,000 savings on list price allied to 0% conditional sales, plus deposit paid options.