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"Japanese carmaker Mazda set to boost European sales: report
Sun Nov 9, 5:02 AM ET Add Business - AFP to My Yahoo!
TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese carmaker Mazda aims to boost its annual sales in Europe by some 50 percent in three years to 300,000 units by expanding its network of subsidiaries there.
The leading business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Sunday that the targeted sales volume for the year to March 2006 would be up 49 percent from the level of the previous business year.
Mazda Motor Corp. (news - web sites), owned 33.3 percent by US auto giant Ford Motor, is set to complete a project early next year to turn wholesale dealerships in European countries into wholly owned sales units, the daily said.
In April, as the last step in the restructuring of its sales channels, Mazda will purchase its vehicle wholesalers in Sweden and Norway.
As a result, about 90 percent of the Mazda vehicles sold in Europe will be supplied through Mazda subsidiaries, compared with 40 percent in 2000, the report said.
Mazda, ranked fifth among Japanese carmakers, said last Thursday that its group net profit in April-September doubled to 11.15 billion yen (101 million dollars) from a year earlier on strong sales in Europe and China and continued cost-cutting.
The new wholesale system is expected to make it easier for Mazda to improve its brand recognition among European consumers and achieve a more integrated sales strategy in the region, the report said.
In September, Mazda introduced to the European market the Mazda-3, a mid-size car known as the Axela in Japan. It will debut the RX-8 sports car by the end of November and a new mini-van in 2005.
Mazda expects to register a 21.8 percent surge in European sales to 245,000 units in the current business year to March 2004, compared to projected sales of 220,000 units for Honda Motor Co. (news - web sites)
It hopes to consolidate its number-three spot among Japanese carmakers in terms of European sales following estimated sales of 860,000 units by Toyota Motor Corp. (news - web sites) and those of 530,000 units by Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., the report said."