Japanese car manufacturer Mazda Cars Ltd made a breakthrough when its subsidiary Automotive Holdings developed and launched the Sao Penza car. More popularly known as Sao cars, the car model was distinct in that it was a subcompact to compact type of car, sporting a fashionable and well-designed look.
Sao cars were initially and exclusively distributed within the United Kingdom during the early part of the 1990s. The car model was actually imported from South Africa, where similar models were truly huge hits in the car industry. Many car buyers acknowledged the promising and well rounded potential of the car brand.
Sao cars, however, were not independently manufactured and designed. The car model was actually just a re-badged model of the Mazda 323. Thus, the basic features of Sao cars are very much reminiscent and related to the characteristics of the Mazda 323. To be particular, the engine features of the Mazda 323, also known as Mazda Familia in Australia, North America and Europe.
The first Sao cars were manufactured in the year 1985 in South Africa. The manufacturer and marketer was a car assembly firm known as Samcor, which is now part of the country's local unit of US-based giant Ford Motor Company. From there, the exportation of the Sao cars originated. It was an amazing feat because it is very rare that an African country would be able to export a technology product to a highly developed European market that United Kingdom actually has been.
However, like many other car brands, Sao cars survived not without direct challenges and problems along the way. Through the car brand for some time outpaced and undercut Mazda model where it was patterned from, the car brand still perished after a short time. There are many reasons that may be attributed to Sao car's demise. One of those reasons was the car model's dated design. As time goes by, car buyers' preferences and taste in vehicles changed and became modernised, shoving aside the older car models, including the Sao cars.
Another factor that is blamed for Sao's failure is the relatively unknown brand. Sao as a brand name was not able to bolster itself so that more people could have known it better and more significantly. Brand recall has been an important factor of brand survival, and it was one significant feature that Sao lacked. On top of that, Sao cars were not really original because they were just mocked versions of the original car model from Mazda.
Car consumers were also quick to note and discover the poor build quality of Sao cars. Thus, the relatively weak sales of the car model led to the demise of the brand across the UK car market. Dealers were also hesitant to continue distributing Sao because they anticipated that the car model would not be able to deliver what was expected from it. There may be a few Sao cars that still exist nowadays. But for sure, they are exiting as collection items or as a trivial material.
Original Authors: Manny
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 10/06/2008