Mazda hires Spanish external relations chief

Madrid: Mazda has appointed Manuel Rivas to the new position of head of external relations and events within its Spanish public affairs department.

Rivas will handle national and international events to promote car launches, arrange media interviews and establish links with the Spanish press.

He will work under public affairs director Natalia Garcia and liaise with media relations boss Eva Agustin, who previously handled his work.

“My appointment will allow Natalia and Eva to deal with their jobs more specifically,” therefore increase the department’s efficiency, Rivas said.

Most future events will aim to showcase new and improved Mazda products, he added. The first project will be organised for next year’s Geneva auto show in Switzerland.

In Spain, Europe’s fifth-biggest car market, Mazda hopes to reinforce its image as a maker of “uniquely designed, dynamic and exceptionally functional” cars.

To boost Mazda's fortunes, Rivas and his team will work to publicize the new Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback model, which competes head-to-head with Renault’s new Megane (Spain’s best-selling car), Volkswagen's Golf and Opel's fledgling Astra.

“Spain is one of Mazda’s most important markets with Italy,” Rivas said. Mazda also wants to strengthen its foothold in the medium-to-high car market, competing with pricier Audi and BMW models, he added.

This year, Mazda plans to sell 13,500 cars in Spain versus 9,000 in 2003. It intends to increase its market share to 1% in the short term.

Prior to joining Mazda, Rivas worked in Peugeot Spain media relations' unit under external affairs boss Miguel Villarruel.

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