The right dealers with the right facilities and in the right place, but always with a pragmatic approach is how Mazda UK Managing Director Jeremy Thomson describes the company’s approach to its dealer network.
While the last three or four years have been particularly tough for the industry, Thomson is optimistic that the company and its partners have turned a corner. He is also full of praise for “the tenacity and durability of the network” which is now reporting that profitability is on the rise as demand increases for the company’s new generation of products.
Cutting the number of sales outlets from 157 to 135 was essential to ensure long-term profitability of the network by increasing the number of sales through each showroom, he said.
Conversely, because owners don’t want to travel further to get their cars serviced or repaired, the number of authorised repairers has been increased from 18 to 32, explained Brett Hague, Mazda UK’s Franchise and Network Development Manager who is keen to attract new partners to the brand to fill open points in the network.
There are a number of open points remaining, and at least four new sales locations will open later this year. “There are a few opportunities for entrepreneurial and customer focused dealers to represent Mazda, and interest in the brand is really strong,” said Hague.
He points out that Mazda remains a very attractive proposition for businesses looking to take on a new franchise since 70 percent of sales are in the booming retail sector “and we don’t have any need to force registrations which has been a problem throughout the industry.”
In the recent Auto Express Driver Power Survey, the largest and most comprehensive poll of car owners in the UK, the Mazda brand jumped from number 12 last year to 4th place. The climb is testament to Mazda’s sixth generation cars, with the Mazda CX-5 achieving pole position in the SUV class. Scores were especially impressive for ‘practicality’ and ‘ease of driving’ categories.
The Mazda CX-5 is proving to be a remarkable success story – Mazda UK can’t get enough of them because of strong global demand. Mazda sold 3,100 in FY2012 and with increased supply Mazda is planning for more than 6,000 in this financial year.
Meanwhile, Mazda continues to go from strength to strength, adding awards to its trophy cabinet with its sixth generation models. Mazda6 recently won the Fleet News ‘Best Upper Medium’ category title, whileexperts from the CarBuyer website selected the all-new Mazda6 Saloon as their ‘Best Large Family Car’ and Mazda6 Tourer as ‘Best Estate Car’ because of its good looks, fun driving experience and impressive levels of standard equipment. The Mazda CX-5 trophy cabinet includes What Car? magazine’s ‘Green SUV’ and ‘Best Buy SUV’ awards, Total 4×4 magazine’s Green Award and Scottish Car of the Year’s safety award.
Mazda UK say Director Peter Allibon adds: “We see a bright future for the Mazda brand.”
That confidence comes from successful launches of both Mazda CX-5 crossover and all-new Mazda6 as well as a full pipeline of new products all benefiting from award-winning SKYACTIV technology to give Mazda a sustainable platform for future growth.
“The Mazda6 launch was phenomenal and I’m very confident about the car’s performance and look,” said Allibon. “The press reaction and the awards it has already won speak for themselves. Our plan of 7,500 Mazda6 sales in the 2013 financial year is now looking a conservative number and we can go beyond that as natural demand builds.”