While being present at the Mazda CX-9 Lebanon launch event, we took advantage of this opportunity and sat down for a chit chat with Mr. Ryuichi Umeshita (Mazda Corporation’s General Manager Customer Service Division) to get a better insight on Mazda’s unique and future Philosophy and this is what he had to say.
Despite being a small market in term of volume, premium brands use Lebanon as a premium location for their marketing activities addressing the Arab World; As a manufacturer do you take that into account when doing your marketing approach?
Well, Yes. I can talk about Lebanon from two different perspectives: Marketing perspective taking into consideration that Lebanon is not one of the biggest markets however lots of Lebanese live outside Lebanon and have demonstrated over the years their attachment to their homeland and are influenced by its culture, these Lebanese occupy high positions in their country of residence and reflect the Lebanese lifestyle of high living standards thus by saying so we see Lebanon as an influential market to spread the news to the Arab World. On another perspective, we look at ANB as a strategic partner and ANB holds one of the best Customer Service practices in the world among Mazda dealers and is completely aligned with our Brand Management Strategy.
All major companies in the word are talking about Autonomous driving, how do you see this innovation and does it contradict with Mazda’s moto “Celebrate Driving / Fun2Drive”?
If you consider the car as a transportation medium to go from point A to point B then yes Autonomous driving is more convenient and easier to implement however we do not define a vehicle to be just a transportation method. Mazda sees that self-motivated and happy drivers is the Mazda Vision. In this regard, I can truly say yes we are developing Self-driven vehicles and technologies from a different approach. I mean the driver has to always be in control and enjoy the journey onboard of the Mazda however the computer may interfere at any given moment if any anomalies are detected within the driver’s health or in the event of an inevitable accident.
What changes will we see in the future in the Mazda line up? Are there any sports cars coming out “the RX vision”?
As already mentioned Mazda is a very emotional brand and we already have MX-5 which is our #1 sports car, however We have already showed the RX vision in Tokyo motor show which is a dream to us and to Sports Car fans so I can say that we are constantly developing the RX and if the time comes and we want to introduce that car in the market we will be fully ready to surprise.
Mazda is the only manufacturer that is not part of a global alliance. What can you explain about this strategy?
Mazda have decided that it will not be playing the same game as the other players in the market, we won’t be chasing volume sales. Mazda has a unique strategy to develop unique designs, unique products and unique technologies and we believe we can grow exponentially on our own.
What is Mazda’s future vision for Hybrid and Electric vehicles?
We currently have one of the most efficient and reliable engines with the SkyActive Technology implemented in our engines, we are keen that in the future some countries’ regulations will require the use of electric Motors so we are preparing for it however we will always be going for that Vroom Vroom car. So for the time being we will be sticking to gasoline and diesel engines as much as possible, we know that many companies will go down the electric path but we want the customer to say if I want a petrol engine I will go to Mazda.
On another note, our philosophy is different when it comes to emissions and efficiency, many people approach it from the concept of Tank to Wheels, we go for the Well to Wheel concept. Think about this in order to produce electricity there’s a lot of fuel used to produce the needed charge for worldwide electric cars. Thus we will continue with the petrol engines and improve it as much as possible for higher efficiency and lower emissions.