But the move, designed to inhibit fraud and ensure longer-term links with Mazda owners, will create unease among independent repairers, who must pay to use it. They might see it as an attempt to discourage buyers from seeking servicing and repair work outside the manufacturer’s official network of franchises.
Mazda Motors UK managing director Phil Waring insists the company will allow customers freedom of choice about where their cars are serviced.
Last year, the carmaker members of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders bowed to pressure from the Office of Fair Trading to abandon their policy of tying-in customers to servicing at franchised dealers for cars under warranty.
Under revised Block Exemption, cars can be serviced at any repairer without affecting the warranty provided the work and parts used meet manufacturers’ standards.
“We support the SMMT’s position but we hope that we will be able to provide a compelling reason as to why a customer should use the Mazda dealer network. For example by highlighting the added value of a franchised dealer service history when they part-ex for their next car,” says Waring.
The DSR database will be secure between Mazda and its dealers. But Waring says independent repairers will be able to access it at a small cost to log their services. “Or customers will go to an Mazda dealer with a record or invoice of the service for the dealer to input,” he adds.
DSR is on evaluation at three Mazda dealerships in the UK but bosses at Mazda Motors Europe expect the whole network to get on board in September. Initially it will apply only to the Mazda5, launched next month, but it will replace the traditional paper-based service book in all future Mazda vehicles. Owners can request a printout at any time.