Mazda plans European revolution

Benno Gaessler, who was involved in the manufacturer’s future eco-friendly SKY Technologies, has been appointed General Manager of the company for Europe and North America.

His first task will be in the fleet market, which takes up only 15 per cent of the 239,000 vehicles sold in Europe over the last 12 months.

Mazda has revealed it will focus on increasing these figures with models such as the Mazda2, Mazda5, CX-7 and MX-5. However, the fleet focus will be led by the Mazda6 and Mazda3 executive cars.

Mazda hopes its reputation for attractive exterior styling can be translated into comfortable, luxurious cars for business users.

Simon Monks, who reports to James Hopkins, Director, European Fleet Operations, said "Across Europe we are working to raise awareness of the desirability and attractiveness of Mazda in the eyes of company-car drivers."

Monks claims all Mazda models are ideal for fleet buyers because of their sports styling, high specification, high performance, low emissions and low cost of ownership.

The manufacturer is popular with businesses in Austria and Switzerland, but is not traditionally seen as a fleet vehicle manufacturer in larger markers.

However, Mazda has received a number of awards in the fleet sector in recent years. Earlier this year, the Mazda6 Estate was named the ‘Best Estate Car’ at the 2010 Fleet News Awards – known as the industry equivalent to the Oscars.

Mazda won the award because it has successfully reduced CO2 emissions by up to 10g/km on previous versions and low costs coupled with practicality and interior space impressed the judges.