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By Bradford Wernle
Automotive News

Mazda Motor Europe, aiming to improve its brand image and boost market share in Europe, will take over its national sales companies in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 2004.

Mazda sales in Europe increased 25 percent in 2003 to about 228,000, said Stephen Odell, Mazda executive for global marketing, sales and customer service. That increase compares with the 14 percent rise in global sales that Mazda achieved in 2003.

Odell said the company's move to assume control of its distribution was an important factor in the growth of European sales. Mazda now operates 85 percent of its European network.

Mazda recently took over its independent distributorship in Austria. In recent years, Mazda has taken direct control of distribution operations in most major European markets, including Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
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