Mazda Motor Europe commenced operation on Monday (2 October) of two new national sales companies (NSCs) in the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, with official transfer of distribution from Mazda’s long-standing distributor, Auto Palace Praha, taking place on Sunday.

The appointment of a new managing director for both NSCs, Ivan Ruzicka, was announced earlier this year. Ruzicka, with Thomas Egan as financial director, will head an 18-member staff in the Czech Republic and a seven-member staff in Slovakia. Headquarters are located in Prague and Bratislava respectively.

This move is part of a long-standing overall Mazda strategy of taking direct control of distribution in Europe, including the UK.

“The Czech Republic and Slovakia have emerged as vibrant markets,” Mazda Europe noted in a statement.

Mazda’s newest NSCs have 26 dealerships in the Czech Republic and 13 in Slovakia covering all major cities and regions. A full range of Japanese-made models, plus the Spanish-built 2, is sold in both countries.

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Mazda has been progressively establishing national sales companies in major markets in Europe in line with Mazda Momentum, the automaker’s mid-term business plan, to establish a sales network and enhance the brand image.

In April 2007, a national sales company for the Belgium and Luxembourg market will be launched.