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Old 09-11-2002, 07:07   #1 (permalink)
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Mazda wants Europe market share of 3 pct by 2010

TOKYO, Sept 11 Reuters reported that Mazda Motor Corp's chief financial officer said on Wednesday that Japan's fifth-largest automaker would aim to grab a three percent share of the Western European market by 2010 with the help of new models.

In an interview with Reuters, Robert Shanks said that while making profits in Europe was difficult due to relatively low sales volumes, it was an important market and Mazda would try to raise its share from the current one percent.

"We have a long way to go, but I'm confident we'll get there," Shanks said, adding feedback from the market and the media on its new Mazda6/Atenza, launched in May, was extremely favourable.

Mazda has said it wants to expand sales volume in Europe by 76 percent in 2004 compared with 2001 levels, which Shanks acknowledged as a particularly low base given the dearth of new products until recent months.

He said Mazda aimed to return to the black on a net basis in Europe next fiscal year, following on the heels of Nissan Motor Co, which was the only major Japanese automaker to make a profit in Europe last year.

Overall, Shanks said Mazda was on track to achieve its full-year profit forecast despite a weak dollar, thanks partly to better-than-expected sales of its new Mazda6 in Europe.

"We're very comfortable with our May forecasts," he said.

Mazda expects group sales to rise 7.4 percent in the year to next March to 2.25 trillion yen ($18.76 billion) and net profit to more than double to 20 billion yen from 8.83 billion yen last year.

It is assuming a dollar rate of 125 yen and euro rate of 115 yen for this business year. The dollar was trading around 119.75 yen in Tokyo late on Wednesday while the euro was at 116.90 yen.
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