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SKYACTIV aids Mazda resurgence

Speaking to news agency Headlineauto, Jeremy Thomson, managing director of Mazda UK, spoke about how Mazda continues to engineer environmental improvements to existing technologies through its SKYACTIV programme, such as lightweight materials, stop start and regenerative braking.

Thomson said: ‘These are not options but standard on all vehicles – it's not a question of putting an “eco” badge on the back of the car. Mazda is in the middle of a product and technology investment the like of which we have never seen in the past.

‘It is a step change in our fortunes. In recent years we have not been updating our legacy cars; now we are but with the addition of SKYACTIV technology which is not an add-on badge engineering exercise but technology which goes right through the range in all vehicles. The new Mazda6, for example carries over nothing from the previous model – not a single bolt.’

Thomson added: ‘There is currently a resurgence in the brand with the introduction of new and updated models and our dealers are now making money. The product is now very powerful, based on the KODO design language that is really resonating with customers. Yes over the past few years Mazda has seen some significant losses but we are now putting the meat back on the bones.

‘Currently there is a dramatic difference in sales performance in the UK, where Mazda is growing, and the rest of Europe. In the UK we are seeing more confidence among consumers than is currently being experienced Europe. We are also seeing that buyers are not so much attracted by overt 0% finance offers but more towards affordable finance and servicing packages.’

Mazda sold 25,000 cars in the UK in 2012 and expects to increase this to 30,000 this year with a full range of the Mazda6 and better availability of the CX-5.

Thomson added: ‘We would like to get back to the 2.5% market share we had in 2008 and I believe we can do it. The interesting thing is that three years after the scrappage incentives, how many people will be returning to the new car market? We exceeded our run rate during scrappage and hopefully we can hang on to some of those customers.’

Thomson also said that Mazda has not given up on its unique rotary engine despite the car industry's drive towards alternative fuels and powertrains.

Often criticised in the past for its poor fuel economy, the rotary engine remains very much in the minds of the Japanese company's engineers

Thomson commented: ‘The engineers still talk about it a lot and it could come back. We don't want to lose the technology.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.