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Extended: Happy anniversary Milcars Mazda Watford

Milcars Mazda Watford, the largest solus Mazda dealership in Europe, is celebrating its first anniversary with a dream start to its first 12 months in business.

The family-owned 2,500 sq m dealership in Hertfordshire officially opened its doors on May 27, 2005, following a £3.5m investment. And in a climate of closures and hardship for many smaller retailers, Milcars has enjoyed robust trade.

Group managing director Chris Ward tells AM: “We put together a very ambitious plan for our first year and have been very much on it. For the first quarter of 2006, both Milcars Watford and the group’s other site, Milcars Mazda St Albans, were in the top 15 performing dealerships in the Mazda network.”

From launch to April 2006, Milcars Mazda has sold 345 cars – 153 of which were sold between January and April this year. MX-5 and RX-8 models account for 35% of this figure, well ahead of the network average of 28%. Aftersales business has increased between 70-80%. This year’s target sales for the two sites are 1,100-1,200, with a 50:50 new and used split.

Ward says: “This year has been about getting the new product out there – clearly it takes longer for the used vehicles to get there. Quarter one has been a great foundation and benchmark for us and I am really pleased to see the early results of all the work that’s been put in by the team.”

Milcars has been trading since 1958. The company’s association with Mazda began in 1995 when its site in Radlet, Hertfordshire, began selling the brand.

Ward says with a smile: “We are, of course, happy to expand our relationship with Mazda if the right opportunities arise.”

Mazda Motors UK Ltd (MMUK) will celebrate its fifth anniversary on August 1 this year, since changing from MLL in Tunbridge Wells to a manufacturer owned concern.

Jeremy Thomson marketing director Mazda UK tells AM: “We have grown in that time from 0.5% market share, to over 2%. That may not sound like a huge figure, but this has been in a tough market, and it also means someone has to relinquish share, and no one wants to do that.”

Thomson attributes this increase to network growth and strength of product line-up. Since 2001 the dealer network has grown from 109 to 155. The manufacturer’s target for the year is 50,000+ sales this year, up 7% on 2005.

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