LOCAL HEROES TURN CORNER
THINGS have been looking grim for Ford and Holden since they announced the impending closure of their local manufacturing facilities.
But this week a glimmer of hope comes from an unexpected source in the form of Mazda managing director Martin Benders.
Benders gave media a sneak peek at Mazda’s internal research that tracks “intention to purchase” over the next four years. The measure is a crucial one for the industry because it is essentially a barometer of brand health.
The locals have been in freefall on this score in the past decade, with Holden’s “intention to purchase” dropping from just under 20 per cent to 7 per cent this year and Ford dropping from roughly 15 per cent to 6.5 per cent. But Benders says the brands may have turned the corner, as the figures are up on last year. Both have closed the gap on Hyundai, which has slipped from more than 10 per cent to 8.4 per cent.
“They’ve actually stabilised a little bit so they’re probably now at a level they’re comfortable with,” he says.
The next challenge for the local brands will be to reinvent themselves as importers.
“Quite dramatic changes have to happen in the way they operate,” Benders says.
The news isn’t all good for Ford and Holden, as Toyota sits at 16.2 per cent, Mazda at 13.5, Hyundai at 8.4 and Honda 6.7.