Bermaz to co-promote F1

KUALA LUMPUR: Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd, the franchise holder for the Mazda brand in Malaysia, sees motorsports as a highly effective platform to build brand awareness, said marketing manager Shahidin Sahamid.

The company is currently working with the Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd (SIC), which operates the Sepang race track, to co-promote this year’s Formula One (F1) Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix.

“We are looking at new ways to expose the Mazda brand to Malaysians and F1 is something that needs no introduction,” Shahidin told StarBiz at a F1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix roadshow recently.

“To be associated with F1 gives us a lot of exposure. It’s all about speed and excitement and the Mazda RX-8 is the right car for this contest,” Shahidin said, adding that the company might consider other forms of motorsports as a platform to leverage its brand.

“We are studying and looking at those opportunities,” he said.

Bermas is offering purchasers of this year’s Malaysian F1 tickets a chance to win a Mazda RX-8.

Only those who buy the tickets at the roadshows are entitled to win.

Auto sales this year were likely to be slow down due to the economic slump, Shahidin said, adding that the tightening of credit facilities by banks would also add to weakening sales.

“But we feel that Malaysians love cars and they will find the first opportunity to buy cars when things ease up,” he said.

Bermaz acquired Mazda distribution rights from Cycle & Carriage Bintang Bhd in April 2008.

Since then, the company has sold about 1,000 units. Its best sellers are the Mazda CX9 and Mazda 6 models.

Shahidin said it was difficult to forecast how many units it expected to sell in 2009, given the tough economic conditions, adding that the company planned to launch two or three new models this year.

“We’ve got new models coming and I think it should give the Mazda 6 a run for its money,” he said.

The next F1 road shows will be held at Highway Auto City and Gurney Plaza, Penang from Mar 6-8 and One Utama, Petaling Jaya from Mar 25-29. Malaysia will host the second round of the 2009 F1 World Championship from Apr 3 to 5.

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