LOS ANGELES -- Mazda once again watched the auto industry's recovery from the sidelines as it posted its fourth straight monthly U.S. sales decline in April.
Mazda sold 19,894 vehicles last month, down 7.5 percent from April 2012. Four-month sales totaled 98,177 vehicles, down 5.5 percent from last year in an industry expected to post 10 percent overall sales growth for the first four months. Mazda U.S. sales grew 11 percent last year.
Mazda executives said earlier this year that the brand could outgrow the industry and surpass 300,000 U.S. sales. For that to happen, Mazda needs to mount a turnaround in the key summer sales months.
A spokesman attributed the company's sales results to low inventories of the redesigned Mazda6 mid-sized sedan and CX-5 compact crossover. Slower traffic for the top-selling Mazda3 compact car amid tough competition in the segment also slowed sales.
Sales of the redesigned Mazda6 totaled 13,884 vehicles in the first four months, down 36 percent from the same period last year. But Mazda says those results exceeded expectations because the car had received virtually no advertising support until recently.
Mazda's "Game Changers" advertising campaign to launch the redesigned Mazda6 sedan began Monday, April 29, and is scheduled to run through the rest of the year.
The Mazda3 compact, Mazda's perennial best-seller, also should give the brand a lift when a redesign goes on sale this fall.
"Overall, we remain confident in our annual performance," the spokesman said in an e-mail. "When Mazda6 and CX-5 production and inventory meet demand, and with the strength of our full 'Game Changers' campaign running, we will be right where we expect to be for the full year."