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Mazda forced out of daily rental as hire firms 'dictate terms'

Date: 27 January 2009   |   Author: Tom Webster

Mazda 3

Mazda has turned to the contract hire market to boost sales after increasingly heated competition pushed the Japanese brand out of the daily rental sector.

"In the latter part of last year there were a lot of manufacturers who were pushing vehicles to the rental market," said Peter Allibon, Mazda's fleet boss. "The rental companies were effectively dictating the rates they wanted and we couldn't compete."

However, Allibon claimed Mazda is happy with this situation, saying: "If we had a choice in terms of short-term rental, we'd avoid it because of the impact on residual values."

The firm reported a boost in both contract hire and user-chooser popularity in 2008, despite overall fleet sales being down. Registrations for the pair combined were up by 50% from 2007, despite an overall fleet registrations dip of 10.2%, due mainly to the fall-off in rental demand.

Allibon hopes the company can build on its increase in user-chooser business this year, with the introduction of the vital new lower medium 3 (pictured) and the new 2.2-litre diesels in the 6. It is anticipated both cars will make up more than half of Mazda's predicted 12,000 fleet registrations for 2009 in contract hire and user-chooser deals alone.

Allibon hopes the new 3 will take a much more fleet-focussed role than its predecessor. He highlights the 1.6-litre diesel's 119g/km CO2 rating as a key factor in achieving the car's predicted trebling of fleet registrations to end users.