Mazda had a good year in 2017, and while many have attributed an increase in car sales for last year a preparatory reaction from the market to the new TRAIN excise tax being implemented this year, Mazda is very confident with their prospects. They were able to move 5,244 units in 2017, a full 28% increase year-on-year from 2016. It was Mazda's best sales year to date since the Bermaz Auto Philippines (BAP) group took over Mazda distributorship in 2012, and this was spearheaded by the Mazda 3, which managed to increase its sales by 39% year-on-year.
The Mazda 3 did very well in the compact sedan segment, despite facing stiff competition from other brands in a very tight segment. The Mazda 3 is regarded by many as one of the best-looking cars in this class, and the sporty hatchback coup looks particularly sharp. The Mazda moved 1,564 units in 2017, more than any other model, even the highly-popular Mazda 2.
The Mazda 2 on other hand moved 1,485 units, a significant 25% year-on-year improvement. The premiere Mazda 6 moved 138 units, 35% better than previously. The MX-5 also moved 246 units for a 62% improvement, the CX-3 did 327 units – a whopping 177% increase year-on-year, the CX-5 did 908 units and the CX-9 had an amazing turnout of 191 units, up from 11 units in 2016, a 1,636% improvement. The only model that didn't see an increase in sales was the BT-50, which had a 35% drop, but Mazda notes that this was due to inventory and supply issues rather than an actual lack in demand.
Steven Tan, the President of BAP is confident in Mazda's prospects for the future. "Most people don't focus on dealer partner profitability. The typical way of thinking is that for as long as dealers get ample stock to sell to the customers, then that's the end of a distributor's responsibility. When we first started, our dealers were operating at losses. As the years went by, we moved in the positive direction and in fact, last year was the best year for our dealers as well. By helping our dealers' bottom line, they can in turn keep good people. We are proud to have one of the lowest employee attrition rates among dealers in the automotive industry, in fact. By enabling our dealers to gain experience, they can, in turn, give better customer experience."
Tan believes that focusing on the dealers will end in better customer and employee satisfaction in the long run, and this will help keep Mazda competitive and profitable in the local market, even facing the additional challenges of the new excise tax.