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Mazda targets 450k annual US sales by 2026

Larger, electrified SUV models to help drive Mazda’s stateside sales growth

15 Apr 2022

MAZDA will use its new double-digit CX range of SUVs (CX-50, CX-60, etc) to push its US sales to record levels within the next four years, Automotive News reported this week.


According to the article, the slow-and-steady move upmarket is part of an internal tactic known as the “inchworm strategy” which, with each model’s series redesign, will see base entry prices of respective ranges locked in step with the outgoing series, while prices of new-generation models will be higher because of their upmarket packaging.


The strategy already appears to be well underway. Higher transaction prices and a “premium push” have helped the Hiroshima-based brand to take forward steps in markets in which it was once comparatively small.


In the United States, in particular, Mazda’s range overhaul – led primarily by larger, increasingly electrified SUVs – is predicted to boost sales by up to 35 per cent (450,000 unit sales) by 2026.


But Automotive News cautions that Mazda’s ambitious growth gambit is not without risk. It says Mazda has been aiming for annual US sales of at least 400,000 units per annum since 2013, but has so far failed to reach that number. In fact, Mazda's US sales record of 379,843 units was set way back in 1986.


The report also says that the success of the company’s samey portfolio is reliant upon a thin R&D budget, new digital marketing techniques, an overhauled retail network, an expanded factory footprint, faster, more efficient product development techniques, the help of Toyota, and “a big dose of electrification”; meaning the outright success of the Mazda machine would be dependent on many moving parts.


Furthermore, the article says that Mazda’s SUV-only approach risks diluting its public identity and that such a burst of new product and drivetrain offerings might also be a crippling burden for a small company.


“Mazda has made some inroads to improve perception of brand position,” principal analyst at S&P Global Mobility Stephanie Brinley told Automotive News.


“The Mazda premium (push) is less about a traditional luxury definition than it is about the attention to detail in design and development.


“Customers may not be sure what to turn to Mazda for. Mazda's global positioning is not as strong as some other brands and offering regional utility vehicle solutions and regional powertrain solutions may not improve that scenario.”


But, with a number-two spot on the important Consumer Reports brand report card in 2022, and a new US factory delivering as many as 150,000 vehicles per annum, the goal of achieving 450,000 unit per annum sales by 2026 seems well within Mazda’s reach.


The company grew its US sales by 19 per cent last year to secure a 2.2 per cent share of the overall market and, with three new SUV models waiting in the wings, it’s expected the brand will continue to build that momentum.


Model-based development, where several products are leveraged from a single platform, is further expected to help Mazda’s cause, as are larger engines and more premium offerings in a market where both are considered an effective foothold.


“US market requirements are very simple,” Mazda senior managing executive officer Yasuhiro Aoyama told Automotive News.


“When they become more affluent, they require a more expensive vehicle with high output. So, we would like to pay respect to this tendency to prepare higher-output vehicles and a higher-priced portfolio. It’s a very simple correlation.


“We expect the US to give us more constant, robust growth into the future.”


Globally, Mazda hopes to propel its sales to 1.8 million vehicles in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2026, up considerably from the 1.24 million it sold across the 2021-22 fiscal period.


With Automotive News.


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