Mazda Appoints Chief Marketing Officer in Upmarket Push

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mazda appoints chief marketing officer in upmarket push

Mazda’s North American Operations has named Dino Bernacchi as its chief marketing officer, a position created specifically to aid the automaker in establishing itself as a premium brand.

The manufacturer has taken steps to ditch its economical heritage for nearly a year as it pushes upmarket. Model redesigns have followed a cohesive, sleek trend while the company zeroes in on a future “premium, pricey model” to secure its new identity.

Until then, image is everything for Mazda. The brand doesn’t seem interested in swapping over to a luxury-focused lineup or changing its production philosophy. While Mazda had what was arguably the most aesthetically appealing booth at the New York auto show (even if Porsche and Volvo had the better snacks), most of its vehicles still start below $25,000.

Bernacchi’s job will be to help shift the brand toward a more exclusive image, perhaps rationalizing a bump in price. According to Mazda, his duties begin with analyzing customer interactions from the “earliest discovery phase,” all the way through purchasing and ownership. Mazda will use that data to build superior brand perception, likely through marketing and not through a slew of expensive new models.

Mazda doesn’t want to rock the boat too much, but it’s noticed its demographic has grown in prosperity in recent years and its buyers now expect more. The challenge will be in making buyers believe the current product is suddenly worth paying more. Bernacchi should have no trouble with this, as he was previously employed as the marketing director for Harley-Davidson.

“As customer tastes and expectations change, and Mazda moves itself to a new, more premium, position in the industry, it is critical that Mazda be laser-focused in our approach to how we tell our proud brand story at every touchpoint in the customer’s journey with us,” Mazda North American Operations CEO Masahiro Moro said in the official announcement. “Dino’s leadership experience in doing exactly that in the past is why he is perfectly suited for this role at Mazda.”

[Image: Mazda]

Join the conversation
2 of 72 comments
  • Johnster Johnster on Apr 26, 2017

    Maybe Mazda should introduce an Avenir, Denali, Maybach-like sub-brand. They could call it "Amati."

  • REVitHigh REVitHigh on Apr 26, 2017

    So far so good for Mazda. Their dealer networks need to change but their product is getting much better than what it once was. Their natural competition is just getting more mundane by the minute.

  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
  • Inside Looking Out I used True car once in 2014 and got a great deal. The difference is that you do nothing but dealers call you. No haggling but you can get the same deal browsing inventories on dealers websites. It just matter of convenience, Rich people delegate job to someone else because time costs more.