Mazda’s relationship with its UK dealer network is being held up as a model partnership to be replicated throughout Europe.
“If dealers are choosing Mazda for the right reasons – so that we are their franchise of choice – then we build loyalty and you don’t have to fight for every dollar,” said Martin Benders, vice president sales, Mazda Europe.
“Dealers are there to make money and we recognise that. It is no good keeping mean and lean, it doesn’t really help.”
What Mazda needs to do – and where the UK has led by example – is “to set expectations at a level you can deliver.
“Mazda is not big enough to impose its brand and standards and the UK model is about the closest we have to what we want for the rest of Europe, “ he said.
Benders, an Australian, said the partnership approach has worked very well in Australia and had allowed dealers there to build sustainable volume.
This became a virtuous circle with dealers making profits and staying loyal.
“My direction is to very much get back to basics, to understand what are the positive drivers of the business in Europe,” he said.
In the markets that are struggling economically such as Spain Mazda is putting in strategies to help dealers weather the storm, he said.
“Our advice is if customers are not there, you need to talk to your existing customer base.
“There are a whole load of things you can do to take the pressure off for a little while.”