Mazdaaims to be BigM
Japanese cars sales are tipped to grow even more, writes Paul Gover
MAZDA could be Australia’s No.2 car brand by 2014 with annual sales of more than 100,000 vehicles.
Work has begun in a bid to boost supplies from Thailand with a $400 million upgrade of the company’s AutoAlliance joint-venture factory.
Thailand has become the Australian source for the baby Mazda2.
Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson says the Mazda2, Mazda3 and CX-7 are the powerhouse classes that will propel Mazda from its current 80,000 annual Australian sales to 100,000 by 2014.
He sees a general annual improvement in local sales of 1.5 per cent a year, but a 3.5 per cent growth of Japanese vehicles.
Thailand will build the nextgeneration BT-50 pick-up, the first total overhaul of the workhorse in 20 years, and it will become a key part of Mazda Australia’s showroom push.
Dickson, speaking at a window-on- the-future event in Europe, says the new BT-50 will appeal to a much greater audience and will introduce new drivetrains.
The BT-50, to be revealed at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney in October as a Ford and a Mazda, is the culmination of the T6 development program run at Ford Australia for the past four years. The vehicle is expected to go on sale here late next year.
Mazda will produce dual, single-cab and cab-chassis versions of the new car-like BT-50. Ford is expected to use the driveline and chassis to produce its Courier and Ranger.
Ford also plans a four-door wagon based on the T6 chassis, similar to the Mitsubishi Triton-based Challenger.
However, Dickson says there are no plans for Mazda to follow the SUV move, though the company may have a smaller wagon or SUV to slot under the CX-7 and replace the Tribute.
This will be several years away and is likely to be the CX-5 and could be Mazda’s interpretation of the Ford Kuga SUV, which is also expected to be built in Thailand from about 2012.
Ready to expand: Mazda is gearing up for a boom in sales in the next few years as imports increase from Thailand.