Mazda on course to beat Europe sales target in 2014

Mazda wants the Mazda6, which competes with models such as Volkswagen's Passat, to play a larger role in the company's lineup.
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MUNICH (Bloomberg) -- Mazda expects to beat its European sales target this year as new models including the CX-5 crossover and Mazda3 hatchback attract customers amid a regional car-market revival.

Mazda's deliveries in its European markets jumped 24 percent in the first five months, Jeff Guyton, head of Mazda's operations in the region, said. That's more than triple the 7 percent full-year growth rate that the automaker plans in the region, where it's targeting sales of 170,000 vehicles.

Mazda's deliveries rose 18 percent in the region last year, in contrast to the market's 2 percent decline, after a new version of the mid-sized Mazda6 sedan went on sale in late 2012.

Europe's car market is expanding from a six-year contraction sparked by the global recession that culminated in a two-decade low in sales in 2013.

The European market will be "growing modestly this year, maybe around 3 percent," Guyton said on Wednesday. "The industry has bottomed out and, hopefully from next year forward, we get a little bit more constant growth."

Guyton said he wants the Mazda6, which competes with models such as the Volkswagen Passat, to play a larger role in the company's lineup, which in Europe is dominated by the CX-5 and Mazda3 compacts.

Mazda also wants to look into new sets of customers as the market's growth is likely to remain limited. "We have additional opportunities particularly in company car fleets," he said. "The level of technology and design and functional performance of the Mazda6 is there."

Five-month sales of Mazda vehicles in EU and EFTA markets rose 25 percent to 76,956, outpacing an overall market rise of 7 percent, according to industry body ACEA. The automaker's market share rose to 1.4 percent, up from 1.2 percent in the same period the year before.

Mazda's No. 1 seller in Europe is the CX-5 crossover. Its sales rose 38 percent to 25,444 in the first five months, according to data from JATO Dynamics. The Mazda3, the No. 2 seller, increased sales to 20,251. Sales of the third-placed Mazda6 rose 7 percent to 14,691.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

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