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Mazda offers a cash incentive to sell aged stock

Mazda dealers are being given cash incentives to get rid of aged stock, as new registrations hit this month.

The bonus is for cars more than 90 days in stock and ranges from £50 to £500 depending on the age of car, model and difficulty to sell.

The money can be given to the salesman who sold the car or gathered collectively to celebrate as a team.

Russell Wythe, dealer principal at Wrights Mazda in Norwich, said the scheme was “a great idea”. He hoped the Japanese carmaker might consider doing it again for the March plate-change.

Wythe will be holding on to the cash for a team event, believing that “every member of staff will make September a success or failure”.

The dealership, which employs 22 people, focuses on staff morale with regular trips out: most recently, they went to watch Norwich City play Tottenham Hotspur.

Wythe’s approach means high staff retention. “Customers come in time and again and see the same faces.”

The approach is working: Wrights Mazda has won best customer satisfaction for Mazda for the past two years.

A customer care manager, Sean Curtis, introduced four years ago, ensures that everyone is happy, said Wythe.

He added that Wrights’ customers – repeat local East Anglians – “are the sort of people that enjoy filling in questionnaires”. Of 250 satisfaction surveys sent out last quarter, 225 were returned.

Originally a bicycle dealer when it opened in 1927, Wrights became a Honda dealership in the 1950s, before ending the franchise in 1986, two years after taking on Mazda.

Since Mazda UK took over distribution in 2001, the brand has been on a steady rise, said Wythe.

Although some dealers have been critical, Wythe claims Mazda has reasonable targets. Last year, Wrights sold 450 new and 400 used cars. It expects to be only slightly higher this year.

“Mazda is sensible about things. And it knew its growth was from Mazda2,” said Wythe.

The B-sector car accounts for about a third of the showroom’s sales.

Fleet holds about 10% of sales, but this is starting to increase as Wrights begins to target smaller businesses.

While Wythe acknowledges that he cannot compete on fleet discounts with larger volume brands, the appeal of Mazda is about owning something different to everyone else. “It’s about expressing individuality,” he said.

Turnover for the group, which includes a Proton site and Mazda repair centre in Lowestoft, was £14m last year, with the Norwich site accounting for £9.7m.

Turnover is expected to be slightly higher this year, because Wrights is selling more – but smaller – cars.

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