Mediterranean markets boost Mazda UK
Filed under: News
Source: Mazda UK
Mazda UK has seen spectacular growth not just in the UK, but also in the Mediterranean where it is responsible for the right-hand drive markets of Malta and Cyprus. The launch of some exciting new products next year will be key to maintaining that momentum, said Ian Crawford, RHD Mediterranean Markets Manager for Mazda UK. Although volumes are relatively low when compared to the UK market, Mazda has seen sales growth of 71 per cent in Cyprus and 300 per cent in Malta since 2004 when the islands came under the wing of the UK.
“Mazda3 is our best selling vehicle on both islands, while other new products in 2007 will provide a real opportunity for us. The ‘C’ segment dominates the market in Cyprus and the ‘B’ car segment is also important accounting for almost 20 per cent of sales. In Malta, although the volumes are lower, the ‘B’ segment is dominant and accounts for half of total vehicle sales on the island. These growth product areas provide an opportunity for Mazda in the future as the product line up evolves,” said Crawford.
In Cyprus, where Mazda is targeting 1,000 sales this year, the B-Series pickup is also proving popular especially with the utility companies – the Electricity Authority of Cyprus already has 20 Mazda pickups on its fleet and Mazda is in the running to supply local authorities and civil engineering companies with the new Mazda BT-50.
“These local authority vehicles are high profile so they will be very good business for Mazda in Cyprus,” said Crawford.
Both markets are subject to high vehicle registration taxes – Malta has a matrix based on the value but banded according to the engine size of the vehicle. Small engines, up to 1,300cc are taxed at 50.5 per cent of the value rising to 75 per cent for vehicles over 2.0-litres. A value-based method was also used in Cyprus until November 2003, but since then a ‘cost per cc’ registration tax has been adopted.
The tax regime starts at CYP 0.50 (60p) per cc for the smallest engines, rising in six bands to CYP8 (£9.50) per cc for engines larger than 2,650cc. And, more changes are on the way in Cyprus and the likelihood is that these amendments will provide incentives for customers to turn to low emission vehicles. This will end a period of instability in the market and will hopefully provide a boost for new vehicle sales.
The 1.4 and 1.6-litre Mazda3 models are very popular taking 9 per cent of the ‘C’ segment in the Cypriot market. At the other end of the scale, Mazda RX-8 does better than expected, because it is taxed as a 1.3-litre despite its twin rotary engine equating to 2.6-litre equivalent.
While there are synergies in terms of vehicle specification between the UK market and these two Mediterranean islands, there are also a number of key differences. Cyprus uses metric instrumentation so all speedometers and odometers are in kilometres, the same as Japanese vehicles and while car alarms are a must for the UK, they are less important in the Mediterranean markets but air conditioning is obviously essential.
The logistics to ship vehicles to these markets has changed in the past two years. The majority of vehicles are shipped from Japan and instead of vehicles being shipped to Mazda’s import centre in Rotterdam – steaming past their final destination on the way – they are now shipped to Barcelona where Mazda has another import centre which looks after Southern European countries.
“We made this switch for Cyprus some time ago and have recently made a similar change for vehicles destined for Malta. This saves unnecessary shipping time and reduces the time to transport vehicles to the islands by at least two weeks,” commented Crawford.
Mazda has a 3.5 per cent market share in Cyprus and 1.5 per cent share in Malta. Mazda UK's Mediterranean sales are currently around 120 units a year and are continuing to grow along with the Mazda brand growth within both the UK and Europe.