Mazda increased its European vehicle sales by 21 percent to 211,391 last year and completed the first quarter with a 29 percent rise to 64,562. Through nine months of its fiscal year, its net revenue in Europe was up 12 percent to 520 billion yen (4.2 billion euros) and it had an operating profit in the region of 6.6 billion yen (53.8 million euros).
CEO Jeff Guyton has led Mazda Europe since 2009 after serving six years as the company's chief financial officer. The American executive has benefited from strong demand for the CX-5 compact SUV and expects Mazda Europe to get a further boost from the arrival of the CX-3 subcompact crossover. He spoke with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Andrea Fiorello.
How has Mazda improved its position in Europe?
If I go back five to six years we had a similar market share as we have today but today net revenue from Mazda EU is 30 to 40 percent higher than it was then. It’s a pretty significant achievement.
Will European sales grow in 2016?
The industry should grow a little bit. Perhaps 3 percent, somewhere around that.
And your forecast for Mazda?
I expect a small amount of growth, partly because a lot of the growth has come from the CX models. Next year we will have a full-year [of sales of the] CX-3. But we are really limited by our capacity.
Is Mazda’s global production network running at full capacity?
Pretty much. Not every car line, not every day, but we are quite heavily utilized.
Will Mazda expand capacity?
There are some plans to increase our capacity, but not in Europe.
Has Mazda been affected by backlash from Volkswagen Group’s emissions-cheating scandal?
Everybody is upset about it, they should be, but we don’t see the actual customer saying no to diesel because of it. They may say no to some [other] brand because of it but not to diesel.