Revised Mazda6 set to drive up fleet sales


Fleet manager and company car driver demand for the Mazda6 is set to rise with the introduction of a revised model delivering lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy. The Mazda6 is the car that leads Mazda’s fleet sales in Europe, and the new range features a refreshed exterior and interior styling improvements, additional equipment and a range of significant technical enhancements that improve fuel economy by up to 6.4 percent per model. These advancements, in addition to reduced CO2 emissions of up to 6 percent per model are set to win more converts, particularly from user-choosers within the company car sector.

CO2 has been cut by up to almost 10 g/km on a model-for-model basis depending on engine size thus delivering tax savings for company car drivers in most countries and financial savings on a range of other vehicle-related taxes, such as registration tax, for companies.

In the 12 months to March 31, 2011 Mazda expects to sell more than 50,000 Mazda6 models of which about 50% are predicted to be fleet sales – more than in Mazda’s current fiscal year.

Mazda Motor Europe’s Fleet Operations Director James Hopkins said:

“Although there has been a trend in recent years for company car drivers to downsize, there is a realisation among many that a C-segment car is not big enough for their requirements. Drivers, many of them from premium models, have then chosen the Mazda6 as the best value model.”

Meanwhile, for fleet decision-makers, competitive whole life cost or total cost of ownership figures are crucial in choosing the most cost-effective vehicles. Traditionally, the Mazda model range, and the Mazda6 particularly, have enjoyed strong whole life cost figures, specifically as a consequence of robust residual values.

New data from pan-European fleet data provider Autofutura suggests that the revised model will continue to enjoy first-class residual values and thus contribute to a strong whole life cost package as low depreciation rates are the most significant figure when calculating overall total cost of ownership numbers.

The three 2.2-litre diesel engine options remain from the original second-generation Mazda6, but power output on the standard level engine rises from 125 PS to 129 PS, although CO2 emissions are reduced from 147g/km to 138g/km (Wagon from 148 g/km to 139 g/km).

Emissions on the 163 PS output diesel option drop to 142g/km (from 147g/km), while power on the third diesel engine option reduces from 185 PS to 180 PS but performance is not impacted and emissions also drop to 142g/km from 149g/km (Wagon from 149 g/km to 143 g/km).

Upgraded equipment for the new Mazda6 encompasses ‘smart’ turn indicators and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) for the entry grade and all other models. Additional items moving up the range include: front and rear parking sensors, Hill Launch Assist (HLA), and swivel-type Adaptive Frontlighting System (AFS). All these new features contribute to driver safety.

Mr Hopkins anticipates that “user-chooser” company car drivers will continue to be attracted to higher specified models. Meanwhile, essential ‘job need’ drivers and eco-conscious drivers are expected to gravitate towards the 2.2-litre 129 PS.

Mr Hopkins said:

“Many company car choice lists are imposing a sub 140 g/km cap on some grades of drivers so we expect there to be significant demand for the 129 PS diesel. Indeed, the standard power 129 PS model has lower CO2 than many competitors’ ‘eco models’, without any compromise on performance or driving pleasure. I believe that the new Mazda6 really is a very compelling package for all fleets in Europe.”

Ian Liesnham, director of Autofutura, which provides residual value data and systems to fleets, motor manufacturers as well as leasing and rental companies across Europe, said:

“The latest revision to the Mazda6 combining reduced emissions, upgraded specification and new sporty appearance is an appealing package and will certainly increase its fleet popularity. This should translate directly to further improvement on what are already strong residual values which the car has enjoyed since its introduction. Our experience across the main European markets is similar where the Mazda6 enjoys a robust residual value position in relation to competitors. For example, for the volume seller, the 2.2-litre mid grade model with 129 PS diesel hatchback, our expectation for the UK is for a retained value of 36% over three years / 60,000miles, 34% for Germany and 38% for Spain. With depreciation being the most critical element of the total cost of ownership mix, the Mazda6 continues to offer a strong and competitive proposition to company accountants and drivers alike.”

Source: Mazda (press release/media site)