New Mazda Models Zoom On Premium Pricing, Growing SkyActiv Awareness

Posted by Dale Buss on September 16, 2013 08:04 PM

Mazda is notching some significant progress in its efforts to reposition the brand upscale from the US auto-market mainstream. That's reflected in pricing of its new Mazda6 sedan and in growing consumer regard for its SkyActiv sub-brand.

Mazda6, after going on sale in January, now commands the highest average transaction price in the cut-throat mid-sized sedan segment, according to data from, reported by Automotive News. The car cleared at an average price more than $1,400 above that paid for the competing Ford Fusion, which finished No. 2 in the segment last month. A year earlier, the previous-generation Mazda6 finished third from the bottom.

At the same time, the new Mazda CX-5 compact crossover, in its second year on the market, saw its average transaction price for August rise by 3 percent from a year earlier, putting it at the No. 5 nameplate in an equally and increasingly crowded, highly-competitive segment where nearly every automaker in the US fields an entry.Continue reading...

With Some Sugar and Spice, Mazda Hopes to Get You Behind the Wheel

Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2013 05:21 PM

Mazda hasn't had the vehicle or the marketing muscle to pose a serious threat to the Japanese brands like Toyota or Honda that have dominated the compact-sedan segment in the US for most of the last few decades. But now with a brand-new Mazda6 model and a guerrilla-style marketing campaign to match, brand executives are confident that they can elevate Mazda's standing in this crucial sweet spot of the market.

That's the thinking, anyway, behind the "Take6 Ride and Drive Program" that Mazda is launching this month sequentially in 15 major US cities beginning this week in Seattle and ending in November. The idea of this "experiential" initiative is for Mazda representatives to partner with restaurants where the brand's target demographic is willing to wait for a table and offer to take up just six minutes of their idle time with a quick pitch about, and a test drive of, the Mazda6—which just happens to be sitting at the curb.Continue reading...

Mazda Finally Gains from New Models, New Marketing

Posted by Dale Buss on June 11, 2013 10:38 AM

Mazda hopes that a US turnaround now three years in the making is finally under way and that the SkyActiv technology brand it's spent so much to promote is finally creating some synergies in that direction.

The company's 19 percent gain in May sales over a year earlier halted its four-month streak of sales declines and well outpaced the industry's overall 8 percent gain for the month, Automotive News noted, suggesting that the results might mean Mazda's strategy to become viable as a small, independent automaker are starting to take hold.

The results were "a testament to what Mazda is capable of," Jim O'Sullivan, CEO of Mazda North American Operations, told the magazine. He's still aiming for more than 300,000 US sales for the brand for the first time since the mid-1990s and thus avoiding a third straight year of share losses in the American market.Continue reading...

Mazda Calls on Fosbury, Edison to Change its Game in New Ad Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on April 26, 2013 09:15 AM

Mazda needs to change its approach in order to rise above the 2 percent of the US market at which the brand has been stuck for at least five years. So this weekend, Mazda is launching a new US advertising campaign that not only is meant to break through auto-marketing clutter but also to help stake the brand's attempts to move to a more upscale positioning.

"Game Changers" will feature TV spots that highlight "game-changing" American figures from sports to science. The idea is to communicate to US consumers that Mazda demonstrates some of the same attributes as these heroes, which admittedly may come as a revelation to many Americans.

"We're focusing on courage, creativity and conviction" in the new campaign, Russell Wager, Mazda's US CMO, told brandchannel. "Those three words are basically what consumers told us they thought Mazda was about." He explained: "Versus just being 'any brand,' the idea is to align our products with people who changed the world for good."Continue reading...

brand partners

Mazda, SkyActiv Explore New Universe in Tie-In with 'Star Trek into Darkness'

Posted by Dale Buss on April 18, 2013 11:51 AM

Mazda continues to attempt to climb out of the fray in the US mainstream car market with a determined repositioning as more upscale. The brand continues to add to its tech chops by pushing its SkyActiv sub-brand in creative new ways as well.

The latest: a tie-up with the formidable Star Trek franchise, with a cross-promotion with the latest Paramount film in the sci-fi series, Star Trek into Darkness. With TV, digital, CRM, out-of-home, social media and retail fronts, Mazda is spotlighting the revamped 2014 Mazda6 as well as the SkyActiv powertrain technology. Mazda staged a similar partnership last year with Universal's The Lorax, that time spotlighting the Mazda CX-5 crossover.

One feature of the new platform is a Paramount Star Trek app that has five "interactive missions," one weekly leading up to the movie's May 17 premier. The app launches a scavenger hunt for Star Trek and Mazda content, ascension through the "Starfleet Academy" and merchandise, according to Marketing Daily.Continue reading...


Zoom, Zoom: Mazda Moves Upmarket, Rekindles Romance with Patrick Dempsey

Posted by Dale Buss on December 11, 2012 04:02 PM

What becomes an auto brand most? A reputation for speed and responsiveness certainly helps, and sometimes, a celebrity endorsement or two. And now, in the case of Mazda, perhaps even a move upscale.

Mazda executives in Japan and the United States want to convert the brand's small sliver of global sales, less than 2 percent of the industry, into a premium slice instead of simply a share of the mainstream. They also want to bump up U.S. sales to around 400,000 from a typical annual total of about 300,000.

"If we make ordinary products for the mass market, there would be no reason for us to exist," CEO Takashi Yamanouchi told Automotive News. Of course, the challenges in breaking into the near-luxury segment of any developed market are legion.Continue reading...


Mazda a Homebody as Japanese Rivals Boost U.S. Output

Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2012 02:38 PM

Mazda may be zigging with its decision to bet heavily on making more of its vehicles in Japan and exporting them in the nation's classic Japan Inc. way. But all of its Japanese rivals are zagging — and sinking unprecedented amounts into building up their manufacturing presence in North America, as the lofty yen gives them little choice but to do so for currency hedging.

The little automaker has declared that 90 percent of the output of its new CX-5 crossover, in Japan, will be aimed for export and that it can make a profit on sales to the U.S. even if the yen continues to appreciate against the dollar.Continue reading...


What Would Dr. Seuss Have Made of The Lorax Movie's Marketing Partners?

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 5, 2012 11:55 AM

The catchphrase of The Lorax — "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better" — can mean a lot of different things depending on one's perspective when it comes to the marketing of Universal's record-breaking new #1 movie.

To purists, it means that unless consumers speak up, Hollywood's commercialization of Dr. Seuss, including signing a cross-promotional sponsorship deal with an automaker, the movie's environmental message is for naught. To Mazda, the brand that's ponying up for The Lorax tie-in, it means that unless some consumers care an awful lot, sales numbers are not going to get better.

But is the outrage about Mazda's Lorax partnership making "perfect" the enemy of "good" — and overlooking ?Continue reading...

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