New Mazdas Loiter in Ports As Company Reports Profit Dive

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The fiscal year that wrapped up at the end of March was not a good one for Mazda, the company claims, with profit cut almost in half amid fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, Mazda revealed a full-year operating profit of just $408 million — its lowest showing in 8 years.

Smaller than its Japanese rivals and heavily dependent on the North American consumer, Mazda was hit hard by lockdown orders that dried up sales in the U.S. and Canada in March.

This, after a 2019 spent struggling to regain its footing in the market. The launch of the somewhat upscale current-generation Mazda 3 didn’t go off exactly as planned, though the company’s CX-5 crossover remains popular. Last year also brought the introduction of the CX-30 small crossover, a model that bridges the gap between the tiny, slow-selling CX-3 and the CX-5.

While the first two months of the calendar year did bring an improvement in U.S. sales, March wiped out those gains. Volume fell 41.8 percent that month, year over year, as dealerships closed and residents battened down the hatches. April wasn’t any better, with sales down 44.5 percent.

With operating profit down 47 percent (from last year’s $769 million), the automaker declined to release a forecast for the current fiscal year. All it would say is that the business environment is “expected to remain highly uncertain due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.”

Hampering Mazda’s return to full production in Japan is a backlog of undelivered vehicles clogging U.S. ports. Burning cash, the automaker has tapped three Japanese banks and other lenders for sizable loans, Reuters reports.

Globally, the automaker’s sales fell 9.1 percent in the year ended March, with North American volume down 5.8 percent. The U.S.’s share of that decline was 4.1 percent, though the overall cratering of the market in March meant that Mazda’s market share didn’t drop.

[Image: Mazda]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
3 of 8 comments
  • APaGttH APaGttH on May 14, 2020

    Changing fortunes have hurt Mazda coupled with missteps. Americans are quite clear they don't give a crap about near-luxury quasi-performance. A series of questionable designs, pricing issues on some models, the bad history of the 3.0L V6, and a reputation for automatic transmissions even less reliable than Nissan. This is a brand I want to love - badly. For me Mazda is like Acura a decade ago. A brand I desperately wanted to love, their products "close" but not close enough. They have a couple of good products to offer, but not enough to stem the bleeding. In a lot of ways, I'm surprised they haven't looked for a merger or been absorbed. In hindsight, it seems Ford got a lot more from their partnership than the other way around.

    • Bd2 Bd2 on May 14, 2020

      Going mainstream "premium" (w/ the requisite price hike) has always been a risky move for the US market; see VW, which abandoned that and turned to developing vehicles specifically for the US market (copious amounts of interior space at a very competitive price-point).

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 14, 2020

    Another Lancia, maker of semi-premium sporty cars?

  • 28-Cars-Later They were mocked as whales in their time but the last B-bodies really were ideally suited for decades of family use and long distance travel.
  • 28-Cars-Later "Naturally, GM turned to its most tech-forward engineering team to work on the [Cadillac] Northstar: Oldsmobile."The most GM phrase I have seen yet.
  • Carson D The automotive equivalent of necrophilia appeals to people who have no redeeming social value.
  • Funky D These cars appeal to such different clienteles that it is completely comparing apples to oranges. I would go for the Mustang, especially in convertible form, but wouldn't mind at all a weekend behind the wheel of a Z.
  • Funky D Take it from an IT professional: ALWAYS have a backup plan! And then have a backup to that plan if possible. And always rehearse the plan every once in awhile.Always keep local copies of your data, or you don't really have a backup. My current company is working on revising our plan now, while we still have the opportunity.