Revival at Mazda: New CX-5 Results in Highest Production Target in 5 Years

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Mazda’s acclaimed CX-5 is leading a revival in the brand. The Skyactiv Demio may have been a more significant model since it introduced this new super-efficient ICE technology to the world, but it failed to lift Mazda out of its sales malaise in 2011.

But here we are in 2012. The new CX-5 launch has been a great success in Japan with sales outstripping Mazda’s own projections. Another significant factor is that the CX-5 “clean” diesel may well start to turn the tide that has been running strongly against diesel-engined vehicles in Japan during recent years. Diesels have become almost impossible to register in Japan’s major metropolitan areas, but the CX-5 diesel could well reverse this trend.

Mazda is looking to produce over 900,000 vehicles in Japan for the first time in 5 years. Projected production of 920,000 vehicles in 2012 would put it at 8.5% higher than 2011. Mazda has already had to increase production by 40,000 units at the start of 2012. Mazda has been taking on new employees and cutting back on vacation days to meet demand.

I suspect the improving exchange rate has also helped. A change in Bank of Japan policy has seen the exchange rate against the benchmark US dollar shift from the 75 mark, where it had been languishing for quite a number of months, back up to 83. The Yen is still strong in historical terms, but the change in the outlook must encourage manufacturers like Mazda who ship a lot of their production to foreign markets for sale.

All I would add here is that it’s good to see Mazda doing well. They have really been plowing a different furrow compared with the market leader, Toyota. While everyone else has been running after the latest glamorous greentech — be it hybrids or pure electric — Mazda has been plodding along eking out every last drop of efficiency from the humble ICE.

Perhaps Skyactiv doesn’t have the same ring as “EV”, but I for one think Mazda’s approach of cost-efficient refinement of existing technology makes a lot of business sense.

Zoom! Zoom!

Source: Chugoku Shinbun (Japanese)

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