Mazda UK managing director Phil Waring has an interesting challenge. How far can he take the brand, and what does he need to change to keep pace with Mazda’s growth?
“Our core models, the 3, 6, RX-8 and MX-5 give us 45,000 sales a year,” he said.
“Mazda MX Flexa gives one possible direction for a new people carrier, more versatile than the Premacy but smaller than the MPV. This new model could potentially give us another 5,000 cars a year and the existing 2 a further 5,000.
This growth means more dealers – and more staff for head office. “At the moment we have 87 people dealing with sales of 50,000 a year. If you measure people cost against turnover, we are the most efficient Mazda operation in Europe, but we will probably need about 100 people and better IT solutions as we continue to grow,” said Waring.
He will also need more dealers. His original target for an expanded sales network was to grow from 145 to 156 dealers but that has been adjusted to 185 because, Waring said, “market territories which were not on the radar screen will become viable propositions.”
Potential retailers are being attracted by the new range and a 2.5% profit on turnover, generated by the RX-8, the 3 and 6.
One of his biggest challenges is marketing. “We are not the wealthiest company in the business so with fixed marketing costs we have to be more innovative, faster on our feet and dare to be different,” said Waring.
He is particularly pleased by the success of Mazda’s award-winning viral marketing campaigns and promises more “guerrilla activities” as he takes the fight to companies like Honda and Audi.