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September 15, 2009

FRANKFURT SHOW: ‘No dramatic recovery in Europe’ – Mazda

The European new car market will fall to around 13m units in 2010 from a predicted 15m this year, predicted Jeffrey Guyton, president and CEO of Mazda Motors Europe, speaking to just-auto at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The European new car market will fall to around 13m units in 2010 from a predicted 15m this year, predicted Jeffrey Guyton, president and CEO of Mazda Motors Europe, speaking to just-auto at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

“I don’t see any dramatic recovery. Western European markets will remain flat as scrappage schemes end and eastern European markets will be very low or at best down.”

Mazda’s three biggest markets in financial year 2008/09 were Germany, the UK and Russia.

“In Germany our share has remained flat, we’re down in the K in line with the market and in Russia where the market has collapsed by 60% we’ve seen our market share improve,” he said.

“We’re at the bottom of the trough at Mazda Europe.” New Mazda3 will help sales recover and draw buyers into the showroom in 2010, he believes.

Guyton ruled out any possibility of Mazda building cars in Europe to offset the problems caused by currency exchange vagaries.

“We don’t have the volumes of any of our major models, Mazda 2, Mazda3 and Mazda6, to justify building outside Japan. We’re building in China and we have some manufacturing in Thailand and the US but there’s no case to extend beyond that.”

Guyton describes Mazda’s Hiroshima manufacturing complex as “a gem, probably unique in the industry” because of the way the suppliers and engineering community work together.

“It really is very efficient and we couldn’t achieve those efficiencies elsewhere at the volumes we could build.”

Mazda’s annual global production is between 1m and 1.2m vehicles “which means we’re about the same size as BMW,” said Guyton.

It also means that any new model developed will have to be global to achieve the necessary volumes. One addition to the range will be a smaller crossover or SUV and based on Mazda3. A new Mazda5 will be unveiled at next year’s Geneva Motor Show, he said.

In 2011, Mazda will also debut new petrol and diesel powertrains which will be 20% more efficient than Mazda’s existing engines largely thanks to better combustion technology.

“New vehicle platforms and lightweight engineering will further improve that by 2015 when our target is a 30% improvement in economy for all our cars,” said Guyton. 

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