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Mazda predicts sales bloodbath

"Bloodbath": Mazda has dropped the starting price on its freshly-facelifted '3' to ward off rivals at a highly-competitive time.

Bring on the 2011 showroom showdown, says Mazda boss

28 Sep 2011

TOP car importer Mazda Australia is predicting a sales “bloodbath” for the remainder of 2011 as companies such as Toyota go all out to recover lost market share.

Rather than shy from the battle, Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson said at this week’s Mazda3 facelift launch: “Bring it on.” GoAuto understands that Toyota, whose sales are down 19.4 per cent this year, mainly due to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March that crippled vehicle production, will again offer discounted financing on most new vehicles from October to the end of the year.

Mazda has poked the sleeping giant in the ribs by slashing the prices of its refreshed Mazda3, with a $20,330 starting price for the Mazda3 Neo, undercutting the entry-level small cars of its major rivals.

While Mazda is not saying so publicly, it also expects Holden to take action to avoid the embarrassment of the Mazda3 ending the Holden Commodore’s 15-year reign as Australia’s top-selling car for the calendar year.

But Mr Dickson said Mazda did not care if the Mazda3 – which took a narrow lead last month – snatched the sales crown or not.

“We are not about doing silly things, like being number one,” he said. “It’s not something we put our mind to.”

 center imageLeft: Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson. Below: Forthcoming new Mazda BT-50.

Mr Dickson and Mazda marketing manager Alastair Doak ruled out any crowing over sales success in advertising should the Mazda3 succeed in beating Commodore.

They would not want to dent the pride of Australians seeing their local hero toppled by a Japanese-made import, especially at a time when local car-makers are struggling for survival.

Mr Dickson said he welcomed a big final quarter sales push by the likes of Toyota as it brought customers into the market for all players.

“If Toyota spends, then it is good for everybody. They (customers) don’t just go out and look at Toyotas. They talk with other companies as well.” The Mazda3 moved ahead of the Commodore on year-to-date sales on the back of a record August, when Mazda held its annual M Day sale.

Asked if the Mazda3 could hang onto its lead over the final four months of the year, Mr Dickson said: “Perhaps you should ask Mike Devereux (Holden chairman and managing director) that.” Mr Dickson said Mazda would have “average” supplies of Mazda3 over the rest of 2011, with new stock volumes ramping up through October.

He said the price cuts – along with general improvements and equipment upgrades across the range – were permanent, not just a reaction to the impending sales “bloodbath”.

Mr Dickson said he expected Mazda to sell a record 87,000 units this year, up from 84,777 in 2010, to retain its number one full-line importer title with a market share of between 8.6 and 8.7 per cent.

Mr Dickson said he expected the market to achieve one million units this year, and go on to “one million plus” in 2012.

He said the sales push this year would lift the market and, while the economic situation was volatile, Australia’s sound fundamentals would see the country through.

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