Mazda3-3 The debut of the new Mazda3 1.5 with SKYACTIV-D has enabled the Hiroshima-based marque to enter the sub-100g/km CO2 C-Segment for the first time. The fuel economy figures gave Mazda a ‘Big Push’ entry into the fleet market in the United Kingdom.

Mazda’s fleet sales in the U.K. have more than trebled in the last three years and grew by 22 per cent in 2015 compared to 2014. Despite this, Mazda is still a predominantly retail brand. For a manufacturer that has constraints on supply, it doesn’t make sense to chase some of the high cost fleet volume that’s available so Mazda is predominantly retail out of choice as it wouldn’t make sense for brand to change that.

According to the SMMT the U.K. market is evenly split between fleet and retail sales; those same figures give Mazda a 42 per cent fleet, 58 per cent retail split.

Company car drivers choose a Mazda because the cars meet both their work and personal needs, in the way they look and the way they drive. They also appreciate the efficiency and economy of the Mazda cars and the positive financial impact that can have. But since Mazda doesn’t offer any commercial vehicles, an A-segment variant or any electric or hybrid cars, there are several big fleets that are closed to the company’s plans on the fleet market segment.

To help increase the awareness of their cars to potential buyers, Mazda sells a small volume of cars to the daily rental market in the U.K., which is quite limited but still profitable and it will never be more than five or six per cent of the brand’s total volume.

Mazda also supplies cars to Motability. Again, compared to its overall volumes, Motability makes up a relatively small proportion of what Mazda does, as it’s a legitimate channel because consumers have to make a choice. Motability accounts for more than 10 per cent of total UK sales (some 274,000 units in 2015) but it is still only about 5 per cent of Mazda’s total at around 2,500 units.

Mazda’s best fleet seller in 2015 was the Mazda6 at 5,590 units. It represents a segment that is declining year-on -year, but having benefited from a substantial update last year, the Mazda6 is still proving to be a popular choice, which considering it is competing in a market that has seen the launch of new variants in the last twelve months, is very encouraging.

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Mazda’s position in the fleet market this year is very much assured, thanks to the availability of the Mazda3 1.5-liter SKYACTIV-D. Mazda3 is expected to significantly increase the appeal to those fleets who prefer their drivers to run vehicles with a sub 2.0-liter engine. With its CO2 emissions from 99g/km, Mazda is optimistic that the addition of the Mazda3 1.5-liter diesel derivative to the marque’s already extensive corporate vehicle choice list will enhance its fleet appeal even further.

Edited: Mazda U.K.