According to foreign media reports, Masahiro Moro, CEO of Mazda, said in an interview that due to the fierce competition in China's electric car market, Mazda's business in China may be difficult and its strategy in China needs to be overhauled. At the same time, Mr Mao said Mazda's operations in the world's largest car market would become increasingly difficult in the coming year to 18 months. Production is low, but profit pressure is increasing.
In March this year, Mazda official announced a change of handsome. Then, in June, Mao Ronghong officially took the helm of Mazda and began his trip to China as chief executive. Mr Mao said the auto industry was in transition and the competition was much fiercer than expected.
In fact, Japanese car companies, including Mazda, are having a hard time in China after entering 2023. According to the sales list of Japanese manufacturers previously counted by Automotive Industry concern, sales in China, including Tian Motor, Honda, Nissan and Mazda, all showed a decline in the first half of 2023 compared with the same period last year. Mazda is the brand with the highest year-on-year decline among the four car companies, with cumulative sales of 32200 vehicles in the first half, down 49.4% from the same period last year, including 7400 in June, down 28.7% from the same period last year.
Prior to this, Mazda's sales in China have also declined year after year. Mazda's sales in China fell 41 per cent year-on-year to 108000 vehicles in 2022, the fifth consecutive year of decline in the Chinese market, according to the data.
Since FAW Mazda announced its withdrawal, the Chinese market mainly depends on Changan Mazda, but from the current data analysis, Changan Mazda has failed to support Mazda's position in China. After entering 2023, the year-on-year decline in Mazda sales is still the highest on the list.
Of course, Mazda is not the only car company facing reshuffle pressure. Mazda's plight is only a microcosm of the difficult transformation of Japanese joint venture brands in China. On July 12, GAC-Mitsubishi, which is also a Japanese brand, issued a "letter to all employees of GAC-Mitsubishi" to announce the suspension of production. GAC-Mitsubishi said that its operation was in trouble because its product sales fell far short of expectations. The company officially entered the temporary shutdown stage in June and will optimize its personnel structure according to the actual situation.
Japanese car companies, which once crushed their own brands, are now under a lot of sales pressure in the Chinese market. Data show that in the past 2022, Japanese car companies sold 4.36 million vehicles in China, down 7.7 per cent from a year earlier, the second consecutive year of decline, and market share fell to 21 per cent, down 1.2 per cent from a year earlier. In other words, the market share of Japanese brands is gradually being diluted.
In the view of the industry, the reason for the poor sales performance of Japanese brands in China is not only due to the sharp decline in domestic traditional fuel vehicle market share, but also due to the slow progress of new energy vehicle products. Obviously, Japanese brands must make fundamental innovations if they are to survive.
Although sales of Mazda in China fell in the first half of 2023 compared with the same period last year, Mao said he would not give up the Chinese market. Mazda aims to launch a number of new electric car models in China one after another, and has no plans to downsize. Mazda is scheduled to launch a SUV model in China this fiscal year, ending in March 2024, in an effort to reverse the trend. It was previously reported that the first new energy model of Mazda's partnership with Changan Automobile will be launched by the end of 2024 and plans to launch two new energy models developed and produced in China by the end of 2024 and the end of 2025.
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