Mazda is extending its ‘small fleet focus’ with the roll-out of its business development programme launched earlier this year to a further 20 franchise dealers.
The scheme initially involved 19 franchise dealers across the UK covering ‘32 areas of influence’ and has so far generated more than 200 company car orders taken from sub-50 fleets.
By the end of the first 12 months of the programme (April 2011) – Mazda forecasts incremental orders for 820 company cars from businesses operating less than 50 vehicles.
Still in its early stages, the new scheme sees franchise dealers working in tandem with an outsourced specialist sales team.
Phase one of the initiative was mainly focused on encouraging large franchise dealer groups, which already had a business-to-business structure and covered multiple locations in major conurbations, to participate. Now, phase two is focused on signing up more dealer groups with multiple outlets as well as individual franchise dealers located in major towns or cities where there is a desire to develop local fleet business.
Mazda fleet director Peter Allibon said: “The feedback from the first wave of dealers has been very positive.
“Not only are dealers benefiting from the initial supply of new Mazda cars to fleets, but they will also see workshop business increase as a result of service, maintenance and repair work.”
Alex Bass, dealer principal of the three Vospers Mazda franchises in Exeter, Plymouth and Truro says: “We established the group fleet business 18 months ago, which included a fleet manager, two fleet executives and a fleet administrator.
“So, we had an existing presence in the local fleet market, but the business development programme has given us significantly increased support and is helping to build long-term relationships. The extra knowledge and resources we now have access to provides invaluable support.”
Family-owned Ashleys Garage in Southport, dealer principal Phil Parker has jointly taken on the responsibility with a recently appointed business fleet specialist and believes the programme will bring long-term success for the company.
Parker said: “We have sold nine Mazda6 vehicles to a local IT company as a result of the programme thanks to the guidance and ideas we are receiving to build small fleet business locally. The support we are receiving gives me confidence that fleet is a sales channel that will be successful for us.”
While Mazda’s own corporate sales team focuses on fleets running 100 plus vehicles, Magma Services, part of the London-based automotive specialist Magma Group, is driving forward fleet sales to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in partnership with Mazda franchise dealers.