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AM News Show: Mazda UK’s online retail launch and agency model’s imperfect fit

Mazda UK sales director Peter Allibon on the AM News Show podcast

Mazda UK sales director Peter Allibon has discussed the Japanese brand’s challenging launch of online retail, its direct vehicle imports to the UK and agency model retail in a wide-ranging interview with the AM News Show.

Allibon joined AM news and features editor Tom Sharpe in the Armchair Marketing studio as a series of episodes were produced for the popular automotive retail Youtube podcast, including the recently shared apprenticeship focus with JCT600 and the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).

Among the subject matter discussed as the pair addressed the challenges and opportunities for the Japanese brand in 2022 were:

  • Embracing the benefits of a Brexit-triggered the decision to import cars directly to the UK in order to cut lead times and potential logistical headaches.
  • Tackling the challenges of supply restrictions with the help of new model derivatives.
  • Evolving car retail: Mazda UK has followed up its home test drive scheme with the launch of online car retail offering – but limited vehicle supplies are limiting its scope.
  • Diversity in car retail: Mazda UK’s efforts to diversify the workforce in its franchised car retail network with guidance from the Automotive 30% Club.

Also on the agenda were issues surrounding some rival OEMs’ introduction of agency model retail agreements with its retail partners.

New Vertical Block Exemption regulations impacting the new-style retail agreements were drawn-up by the European Commissions this month, while UK retailers await the outcome of deliberations by the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA).

Commenting on the agency model’s growing momentum, Allibon told the AM News Show: “I see the agency model working really well in a truly digital world but how much is involved online and offline (in an ‘online sale’)?

“I see the agency model pointing towards a full online process where prices can be set and the dealers provided a handling fee for delivering the vehicle.

“The customer feedback we’ve been getting that’s not necessarily what the consumer wants.”

Allibon said that car buyers want and omnichannel retail journey, a “combination of both worlds” delivering a mixture of online and dealership interaction.

“While that combination is there I don’t seeing agency being the perfect fit”, he added.

More episodes of the AM News Show click here.

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