Mazda is urging its dealers to focus on aftersales in 2010 in what is expected to be a a tougher year than 2009.
With aftersales generating up to half of a dealer’s profit, Mazda believes the brand’s retail sales base is a good foundation for income.
Steve Jelliss, aftersales director at Mazda Motors UK, said: “It's a good area for dealers because it relies on the cars already in circulation and not new sales, so when sales become weak it keeps them going.
“My team looks to support dealers with complementary programmes, for instance our Digital Service Record system which logs services online and provides an actionable database in-house.”
For Mazda's 151-strong network, service and parts typically contributed 50% of gross profit in the first nine months of this year.
"Service and parts contribute the same amount of profit for the dealers as they get from new and used car sales," highlights Jelliss.
Mazda is so convinced of the benefits of focusing on aftersales that it is running a pilot project involving a sole franchise dealer and one of Mazda's 14 nationwide business managers to look at the dealer holistically rather than focusing on sales charts.
Jelliss said: "We want to see where the dealer can do better, for example; is the service receptionist offering air conditioning checks? What additional services might interest the customer? Dealers need to look for opportunities when a car is in for routine maintenance work or other attention.
"Dealers have a duty of care to their customers but that responsibility is also a revenue opportunity.”
Initial results are encouraging with monthly revenue growth reported from June to September and September's aftersales revenue 43% higher than average monthly revenue before the start of the pilot project at the dealership.
Jelliss said: "It's all focused on customer care, flagging up what needs to be done or what can be done in the future, whether it's selling new tyres or replacing brake pads that might be worn out before the next service is due."
The key though is to make sure these opportunities are followed up with the customer. "That's what makes the difference," concludes Jelliss.