Robert Davis, Mazda's senior vice president of U.S. operations, is faced with the challenge of achieving its target to widen its market share in the U.S. to 2.5% and to surpass sales of 400,000 vehicles by 2014. If Davis’ racing prowess is any indication, Mazda is bound to hit its mark. In his spare time, Davis enters races with the RX-8s and MX-5 Miatas. Last August, he was behind the wheel of the 1991 Mazda 787 Le Mans race car at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. He drove right through Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca with a speed of almost 200 mph. Mazda is hoping to achieve its goal of a 74% increase in U.S. auto sales compared to U.S. sales of 229,566 units in 2010.
So far, Mazda has never been able to sell 400,000 vehicles in the nearly four decades that it has been in the country. One of the difficulties that Mazda has to resolve is the strength of the Japanese yen. Mazda’s profitability is especially vulnerable to the yen as about 85% of its U.S. sales are Japan-made vehicles. It’s not yet known if Mazda will build the vehicles in the U.S. instead. Last June, Mazda said that it will end the production of the Mazda6 at the AutoAlliance International assembly plant in Flat Rock, Mich., when its life cycle ends likely around 2012. This factory is a 50-50 joint venture with Ford Motor Co. and is its only U.S. manufacturing center.
Production of small cars at a new 140,000-unit plant in Salamanca, Mexico, will begin in 2013. Mazda asserts that this output, which is initially intended for Latin America, could also originate from the U.S. Mazda said that consumers will appreciate the fact that the brand has a dealer network that has more exclusive stores and rising customer-experience ratings. Mazda also asserts that higher quality vehicles have strong residuals. There seems to be a new trend in design language as seen in these lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The automaker also said that with the new agency, its campaign will be more aggressive and focused. [source: Autonews]