Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) had a banner year in 2014. Total vehicle sales for the year were just over 305,000 units, which is the company's best year since 1994. This represents a nearly 8 percent increase over the previous year and a realization of the growth strategies this automaker has implemented in the North American car market. Mazda has been heavily reliant on fleet sales, but the latest yearly numbers also indicate a 6 percent jump in retail sales.
The company's sales took on a noticeable upward trajectory after new Skyactiv technology was introduced into many of models in 2011. This technology is directed at increasing fuel efficiency and engine output from conventional internal combustion power plants. Mazda had chosen to stay with this time-tested engine type for the time being rather than going the hybrid route that so many of its competitors have. Though it's showing signs of altering course on hybrid development, this initial focus has resulted in pushing this established technology to the limits of fuel efficiency. It also enabled the company to do so at a lower cost than new alternative power plant technologies that other automakers have had to spend a lot on research and development to improve.
In April of 2013, Mazda North American Operation announced its largest advertising campaign in the last 13 years. This campaign was carried out on television, in print and in digital media. It was called “Game Changers,” and if subsequent sales are any indication, this campaign has lived up to its name. This marketing campaign featured the fuel efficiency of the Skyactiv technology and the sleek styling of its sportier models to a young audience in television commercials. One of the commercials featured Dick Fosbury, who was the Olympian who changed the way the high-jump was done by being the first person to do it back-first. Parallels were made between this game-changing innovation and Mazda's latest innovative cars, including the Skyactiv technology.
Some also attribute Mazda's excellent North American sales performance of late to a field of car models that offer a good combination of affordability, safety and fuel economy. To take one example, the Mazda3 was an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety top pick under the small car category. The 2014 model also started at just under $18,000 for the base model with a fuel economy of over 40 miles per gallon on the highway. The total package deal that MNAO is able to offer customers with its vehicles is an impressive selling point.
Mazda has come a long way since its cars first hit the shores of the United States in 1970. The brand has been an ever-present part of automotive life here in the North American car market since then, and this latest surge in sales indicates a growing presence to come. Innovative technology, aggressive marketing, and models that offer a good mixture of features, safety and fuel economy at very competitive price points are making Mazda a company for competitors to keep a wary eye on. It is also making its impressive lineup of vehicles a stylish and economical choice for increasing numbers of drivers.
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