Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 7

7

* MAY 2018

ABOUT FORD...

WELL,THIS IS IT

Mazda targets
premium segment
with Signature line
Brand counters
luxury makes
that are trying
to tempt
mainstream
shoppers
By KELLY TAYLOR

WINNIPEG CORRESPONDENT

The Mustang will soon be the last
car with a trunk left standing in the
Ford lineup. P H O T O : F O R D

The move to cut its
cars is an admission
that Japan, Korea
'own' the car market
By MARK RICHARDSON

TORONTO CORRESPONDENT

FORD IS DROPPING MOST OF
its sedan models in North
America, but Canadian dealers
say they're not worried about
sales. They're also not surprised.
"I think most of the dealers
- though I'm only speaking on
my behalf - don't see it as an
issue," said Craig Riley, chairman of Markville Ford-Lincoln in
Unionville, Ont.
"We see it as moving toward
what the market [is] demanding
right now. There's been a dramatic change in the last three, four,
five years and I look at it positively that Ford's getting ahead of the
wave."
Riley said his dealership sells
few cars compared to utility vehicles and pickups.
"If I'm selling 100 new (vehicles) a month, 80 to 90 of those are
the SUV/truck products," he said.
That's retail sales and not fleet
sales.

Ford will introduce a variation of
the Focus called the Active, but
it won't come to Canada.
PHOTO: FORD

Ford announced in late April
that it will not replace or refresh
the current generations of its
Fusion, Taurus, Focus and Fiesta
sedans, leaving the Mustang as
its only non-utility vehicle. In the
United States, it will introduce a
variation of the Focus, called the
Focus Active, but it will not come
to Canada.
"Right now, at our store, we
don't even sell Fiesta," said Riley.
"We used to, and it's a great car,
but maybe only one every couple of months. You know, Toyota
and Honda own the car market,
along with probably the Koreans
Hyundai and Kia."
Ford said in a statement that
the lack of sedans will not create a
hole in its portfolio.
"To respond to the needs of our
customers and grow our business,
we are significantly expanding
our North America utility portfolio while also exploring new
'white space' vehicle silhouettes
that combine the best attributes of
cars and utilities such as higher
ride height, space and versatility."
Of the cars that Cam Clark
Ford-Lincoln in North Vancouver
sells today, the Focus and
Mustang are by far the most popular, says Dick Lau, general manager. About 80 per cent of his car
sales are split evenly between
Focus and Mustang.

ENCLOSED TRUNKS SO YESTERDAY
Ford said that cutting the
Taurus, top, and the Fusion,
above, will not leave holes in the
product lineup. P H O T O S : F O R D

"In our case, this will have
very little impact on us. It makes
sense to me," he said, adding that
families, grandparents and people with dogs are not interested in
vehicles with an enclosed trunk.

"I think you're going to see car
nameplates disappear, and they
won't come back," said Robert
Karwel of J.D. Power Canada.
FILE PHOTO

"If there are pets in the house,
then a sedan just isn't in the equation."
In Canada, Ford said the car
segment has been declining since
2012 and now makes up about 33
per cent of the overall market,
while utility vehicles account for
about 44 per cent of all vehicle
sales.
"This is not a new trend; this
has been going on for years.
Clearly, Ford is playing to its
strengths," says Robert Karwel,
senior manager of the Power
Information Network at J.D.
Power Canada.
"Sergio Marchionne probably led the charge when he decided FCA was going to cease making Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart
because he knew they had to free
up capacity to build more Jeeps,
more utility vehicles and more
trucks. He was probably quite prescient in that decision.
"Will others do this? I've seen
that all manufacturers are starting to not refresh, or lengthen the
span between redesigning their
car lines, as they need to refocus
investment on their utility and
light-truck lines.
"I think you're going to see car
nameplates disappear, and they
won't come back." - ANC

VERNON, B.C. - Mazda
is making a concerted
effort to steal some sales
from the lower end of the
premium market with
a new Signature trim
level.
"It's a natural step
for Mazda to go upmarket, as premium brands
are coming down to gain
market share," said
Sean Claessen, executive vice-president, strategy and innovation, at
Bond Brand Loyalty
in Canada. MercedesBenz, BMW, Acura and
the other high-end manufacturers have introduced new models that
drop the price of entry
in a bid to attract mainstream buyers.
"The quality of the
CX-9's interior finishes and overall design
will certainly attract
buyers who are considering a luxury crossover, but it could be a
challenge to move them
from cross-shopping to
an actual purchase that
leads to loyalty."
Mark Peyman,
national manager of
product strategy for
Mazda Canada, said the
move is part of a plan
to gain market share by
attracting luxury buyers
while not ignoring the
mainstream buyer.
"We have to be careful to not say Mazda is
becoming a premium
brand."

CX-9 WAS FIRST
The move began
with the CX-9 and continues with the updated Mazda6, in which the
Signature model comes
with the newly added
2.5-litre turbocharged
engine and luxury features such as Nappa
leather, ultrasuede
accent pieces, wood trim
and the full suite of driver-assist features, from

lane-keeping assist to
emergency braking and
pedestrian detection,
among others.
The base price for the
CX-9 Signature, including shipping fee, is
$53,214. That compares
with a $66,050 base price
for the Lexus RX-L, or
the $62,755 price for the
comparably equipped
Acura MDX Tech.
"Mazda's efforts
with the CX-9 Signature
were the first to bring
the Mercedes and BMW
owners to come see what
the hype was about,"
said Dave Hallock, sales
and leasing consultant at
Gerry Gordon's Mazda
in Winnipeg. "They were
very impressed with the
fit and finish, and the
use of premium leathers, aluminum and real,
hand-sculpted Japanese
rosewood inlays."
That impression
is something Mazda
Canada is trying to
exploit.
"We just found that
our cars are getting so
good on the execution
level - we've always
had the driving dynamics - we just really ratcheted up the interior
quality, and we're getting looks from those
premium buyers,"
Peyman said.

BMW CROSS-SHOPPERS
Peyman's numbers
indicate that for the
CX-9, as many as 22 per
cent of shoppers looking
at premium utility vehicles also looked at the
CX-9. Most were BMW,
Audi and Infiniti shoppers, he said. Unknown,
for now, is how many
of those cross-shoppers
actually bought Mazdas.
Claessen said to be
truly successful, Mazda
needs to also attract customers through upgrading the sales and service experience, perhaps
with a concierge service
such as with Genesis,
the upmarket brand of
Hyundai.
"The purchase decision is not just about a
differentiated product
anymore," he said. "The
road ahead requires
more than a nice car
- the buying and ownership rides need to be
great, too." - ANC

Mark Peyman, national manager of product strategy for Mazda Canada, says the brand "really ratcheted up the interior quality." P H O T O : M A Z D A



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2

Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 1
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 2
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 3
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 4
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 5
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 6
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 7
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 8
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 9
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 10
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 11
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 12
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 13
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 14
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 15
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 16
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 17
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 18
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 19
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 20
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 21
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 22
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 23
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 24
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 25
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 26
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 27
Automotive News Canada - May 2018 - v2 - 28
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