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QOTD: What to Do With Mazda?

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF, Image: Mazda

Yesterday, Steph Willems asked in his Question of the Day what BMW should do with Mini and its lineup of identical-but-different vehicles almost nobody is buying. Since it seems like you’re quite eager to give brand strategy advice, let’s do it again today.

I want you to tell me what you’d do with Mazda, because its current PR line isn’t sitting well with me.

The PR I’m referring to is from the article Tim Cain wrote on Monday, where the CEO of Mazda North America outlined consumer loyalty, market share and brand advancement desires for the company.

If you haven’t read it already, click the link above so you’re informed for the rest of our discussion and we can engage in the sort of thought-provoking, worldly dialogue I desire every single day. (Oh, and Tim gets clicks.)

Masahiro Moro’s points can be broken down into the following:

  • Mazda owner loyalty is low (39 percent vs. industry average 53 percent), and needs to increase
  • 2-percent market share is the goal, up from a current 1.7 percent
  • The 2-percent share will be obtained though quality customers, not incentives and discounts
  • Higher prices for existing products (via upscale trim levels)
  • Mazda Premium strategy, image establishment
  • Mazda does not compete in over 40 percent of the market segments in America

Now, it’s fine to say you want more of the pie, and having high-quality pie — the kind grandma makes — is the best kind of pie. But making those kinds of pies requires love, care, and many ingredients. You can’t make the pie taste better by putting it on a more expensive plate; substance is required.

To get the bullets above pointed in directions Mazda desires, I think it still needs to make a few changes, and they’re substantive.

  • Address the NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) issues present in all Mazda models across the range
  • Improve dealer coverage throughout the nation, because you can’t buy from a dealer that doesn’t exist
  • A premium image requires a V6 option, even if you borrow it from another company, like Toyota
  • Offer diesel options across the range to support diesel enthusiasts
  • Address that 40-percent segment deficiency with new models, and a modular architecture (like VW)
  • Dump the “Driving Matters” preachy tagline, because the 375 people who care about that are already buying Mazda anyway

Certainly, I’m missing some points, and no doubt you’ll tell me I’m wrong on some of them. But Mazda needs to get the ball rolling here.

So tell me, what would you do with Mazda at your command?

[Image: Mazda]

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