With the launch of the all-new version of CX-9 at hand, Mazda North American Operations is poised for rebound after a slow winter that saw its sales drop by double digits through the first four months of the year.
Last month, however, Mazda achieved its best April since 1995 with 26,195 vehicles sold, an increase of 8.6% year-over-year and Mazda now expects strong sales through the balance of the year, said Robert Davis, MNAO vice president of operations.
The the compact Mazda3 posted its best April performance ever with 10,722 vehicles sold, an increase of 33.9% year-over-year. This is the first time Mazda3 has ever had more than 10,000 vehicles sold in April.
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Davis noted that the company adjusted its marketing efforts around the Mazda 3 in the face of stiff competition from the Honda Civic, which has been very strong. Honda dealers have also succeeded in turning the recalls of thousands and thousands of vehicles equipped with Takata-made airbags into a selling opportunity, Davis said.
The all-new 2016 Miata MX-5 had an outstanding first month of Spring with 1,086 vehicles sold during April. This number represents an increase of 182.8% year-over-year and the best April since 2009, which helped offset the sales lost as Mazda halted shipments to dealers of the subcompact Mazda 2 and the Mazda 5 minivan.
Davis said the real opportunity comes with the launch of CX-9, which is aimed the heart of the utility market where it will compete directly with vehicles such as the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder.
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The original CX-9 was very popular with customers, but the new version will reach showrooms with sleek exterior styling, an all-new interior, a turbo-charged 2.5-liter engine and the latest driver assistance features, such as emergency braking if the vehicle senses a collision is possible and lane departure warning.
Mazda didn’t offer any sales projections but expects it to attract new customers. The design of the CX-9 proves that utility vehicles “don’t have to be boring.” At the same time, the CX-9 is practical and safe and is capable of carrying up to seven passengers in its standard three rows of seats.
Julien Montousse, the MNAO director of design, said the new CX-9 brings Mazda another step closer to creating a family of vehicles that share a common design language that is instantly recognizable.
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In the past, the vehicles in the Mazda product portfolio seemed disconnected from one another. The new vehicles from Mazda share strong, common faces and a surface tension that set them apart from competitor, he said.