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Mazda unveils raft of dealer initiatives

Mazda intends to rebrand and relaunch its approved used car programme and is also evaluating dealer standards with a view to simplifying the requirements.

These two initiatives will be among the new ideas outlined by the company at its annual dealer conference in March. Also on the agenda will be an overview of sales targets for 2007, new product launches and other initiatives to boost dealer profits.

Mazda wants its retailers to be in the top quartile of franchise profit earners, which in the present environment means exceeding 1% return on sales. It hit this target last year; the top performers returned more than 3%.

Jeremy Thompson, Mazda UK sales director, says the franchise demands are moderate compared to its rivals – a point confirmed by Sewells’ dealer attitude survey.

He adds: “We are looking to simplify the standards regarding the number we have and the level of detail that’s required. We want to keep the core standards but not the things that don’t assist us or dealers on profit or performance. It’s a purification or distillation of the current standards.”

Last year was Mazda’s best ever in the UK as it sold 50,166 cars and LCVs for a 2.1% market share. It’s a far cry from the 15,000 units sold in 2001 when Mazda took over its UK distributorship from MCL.

The network is also growing, standing at 158 outlets with just over 100 partners. Mazda has around 13 open points, mostly in metropolitan areas, which it expects to fill by March 2008.

This year is a chance for dealers to catch breath. Their target will be around 51,500 units, of which almost 51,000 will be cars. New models, including CX-7 and Mazda3 MPS, will assist growth. Mazda is putting more focus on used car sales and will relaunch its approved programme in summer.

“We will repackage the benefits of our approved cars, have sales collateral for point of sales and advertising, and have enhanced routes of supply to boost volumes to the network,” says Thompson. “It’s a fundamental rebrand.”

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