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Mazda now has highest number of dealers in its history

Mazda now has the strongest network coverage since the marque came to the UK in 1969.

The company has just three unfilled territories among its 160-strong network.

"It's a reflection not just on the strength of our current product line-up, but also on the way Mazda UK likes to do business," said Jeremy Thomson, managing director for Mazda UK.

"Dealers are our partners and it's important to us that we are easy to work with and flexible. It's also important to us that they make money.

Return on sales for most of the 160-strong network is above the industry average and actually increased last year from an average of 0.8% to 1.5%.

"The top performers in our network continue to deliver outstanding results with the top 25% showing a return on sales of 3.7%," explained Thomson.

"This is not just attributable to having the right dealers in the right place selling the right products but also to a number of business innovations."

The initiatives include having a dedicated team to help dealers with cashflow and balance-sheet management as well as an major customer service programme.

This programme has helped Mazda top the automotive sector in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index published by the Institute of Customer Service.

According to Mazda, its dealers describe the company's approach to business as 'an absolute breath of fresh air,' and have praised the company's understanding and common sense approach to retailing.

Mazda has a 2.4% share of the UK new car market and has sold more than 50,000 cars for the second time in its history in the financial year ending March 2010.

It has opened 20 new dealers in the past 12 months and is reporting record interest in the brand.

In the next couple of months, two new dealers will open for business including ones in Harrow and Gateshead where the Hodgson Mazda Tower represents a multi-million investment in the brand by one of the region's leading car retailers.

Four other dealers in London Docklands, Reading, Rochdale and Oldham are currently securing new sites for their Mazda business leaving only Bedford, Croydon and Hemel Hempstead without a Mazda dealer.

"Reading is a very good example of why Mazda can justifiably claim to be the UK's franchise of choice," said Thomson.

It has been an open point since 2001 largely because of the lack of a suitable property. Now, nine dealers have been vying to win the Mazda business and secure the right property.

"I'm pleased to say that a significant new partner will be announced later this year."

Arnold Clark sells more Mazda vehicles than any other retailer and it opened its fifth Mazda dealership in late 2009, a 17-car showroom in Sefton Street, Liverpool.

This latest Mazda outlet for Arnold Clark stems from the extraordinary success of the group's Machargs facility in Glasgow which is selling more than 1,200 new Mazda vehicles a year from its 30- car showroom.

"It is very rewarding to see the faith both our traditional smaller family-owned franchises as well as the big groups have in Mazda and I am sure points to even better times ahead for us despite the challenges 2010 will bring," continued Thomson.

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