To deliver the surge in electrified offerings, Mazda has already overhauled the production line at its Ujina 1 plant in Hiroshima to accommodate mixed production of EVs such as the MX-30. Mazda has long prided itself on its capacity for flexible output from a single line.
Despite the shift, Mazda’s expectations for its electrified offerings are modest, at least for now. It has sold only 13,000 MX-30s in Europe and Japan so far, including the mild-hybrid version. And it expects the full EV variant to sell only 500 units a year in Japan.
But Mazda’s business remains relatively resilient despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Operating profit surged to ¥20.9 billion ($202.4 million) in the October-December period from ¥6.5 billion ($63 million). Global retail sales declined 6 percent to 352,000 in the quarter.
In the U.S., Mazda’s biggest and most important market, the brand was one of the only makes to notch a sales increase in a tumultuous 2020. Sales rose 0.2 percent.
Mazda said its bottom line was boosted by higher pricing power in the U.S. In 2020, the average transaction price reached $30,000, from $26,000 five years earlier, Executive Officer Ryuichi Umeshita said. Meanwhile, the count of renovated next-generation dealerships hit 174, closing in on the company’s target of 300 and helping lift the brand image.
Naoto Okamura contributed to this report.