Type ‘Mazda2’ into Google and the top sponsored listing links to current Mazda.co.uk offers on the car. Top of the list is a PCP, for 0% APR on an SE grade model. It includes a £500 Mazda deposit contribution and monthly payments of £169.
It’s a canny, but not unusual, use of Google. Unfortunately, a link to a finance calculator below the offer gave an error message – the equivalent of a dealer not answering the phone or an email?
Number two on Google was our local Mazda dealer in Peterborough, Donalds, with a ‘£99 per month’ offer. Click through, however, and there’s no sign of that tempting offer. As a consumer, I don’t care about the reasons.
Despite the gremlins, Mazda is flying.
Sales are up 12% year-on-year in the first five months – and Mazda UK predicts 2016 will finish 6% ahead. Total sales to the beginning of June were 22,370, boosted by the best March in the company’s history.
Sales are forecast to top 48,000 this year, with the MX-5 and CX-3 leading the pack. UK sales director Peter Allibon expects CX-3 sales to double to 5,250 units and MX-5 sales to grow by 1,700 to top 4,700.
The Mazda2 is doing its bit. Year-to-date, sales are up 30%. However, Allibon believes the overall year-on-year growth of 6% is “modest”.
“We’ve seen a massive increase in retail sales and it’s very challenging for us and our dealers to deliver that kind of volume while focusing on the quality of service and ownership our customers expect,” he said.
“The additional volumes last year didn’t generate the extra profit for our dealers we would have liked, so this year we want to focus on making sure the network hits the industry average for return on sales – something we keep just missing.”
The company has recorded three consecutive years of 20% growth taking sales from 26,200 in 2012 to 45,500 last year.
“We have a two-year customer experience programme, a Mazda blueprint, which will change the way dealer staff approach customers. We want to get the quality aspect of everything we do right.”
Writer's note: after publication of this review in AM magazine, Mazda got in touch regarding the digital gremlins. A spokesman said:
"We are sorry to read of your recent expericence on our website regarding the finance calculator providing you with an error message.
"Unfortunately we were experiencing some technical difficulties at the time which we were well aware of and were working firmly towards a fix. I can now assure you that this element of the site has now been corrected and yourself and others are able to experience the full depths of the finance calculator tool once again.
"Essentially it was an upgrade from http: to https: to upgrade to the latest webmaster standards and security."