Mazda U.K. Upgrading Dealerships, Staff Training

Mazda U.K.ʼs Tony Hague says 107 of the network’s 135 dealerships are on track to be refurbished by late April with 14 other sites being rebuilt or relocated. He says the effort is meant to reflect “a cultural changeˮ within the retail network.

Alan Harman, Correspondent

March 28, 2016

2 Min Read
Mazdas moving out of UK showrooms at robust rates
Mazdas moving out of U.K. showrooms at robust rates.

More than 90% of Mazda’s 135-strong U.K. dealer network will be refurbished by late April.

Mazda dealers will have spent £12 million ($15.9 million) upgrading their facilities to match the brand’s model range, which after an unprecedented year of new-car launches is one of the U.K. industry’s youngest.

WardsAuto data shows Mazda U.K. sales are brisk, rising 28.2% in January to 4,281. The previous three years show similar growth. In 2013 deliveries climbed 19.3% to 31,228 units and jumped 21% in 2014 to 37,784. Last year, sales grew 20.4% to 45,504 units.

“It’s very pleasing for us that our dealer partners are so willing to invest in Mazda,” Brett Hague, head of franchising and network development for Mazda U.K., says in a statement.

Hague says 107 dealerships are on track to be refurbished by late April with 14 other sites being either rebuilt or relocated. He says the new look is just an outward sign of what is a much deeper change within the retail network.

“We’re looking for a cultural change,” Hague says. “We want a philosophy of customer excellence which is more than just customer satisfaction. Our aim is to deliver a personal service that ensures everyone buying a Mazda feels connected and is positively surprised throughout the process.”

To help do that, the Mazda Academy, an outsourced training facility, is being moved in-house to Mazda U.K.’s new Dartford, Kent, headquarters, 20 miles (32 km) east of London. Nine staffers will be assigned to develop bespoke training for each of the automaker’s 135 U.K. dealerships.

Part of the challenge is to reduce a dealership staff attrition rate that ranges from 35%-40% industrywide.

“We want to be well below that, and that means challenging the dealer network to recruit differently by being more customer-service-focused and not just taking a salesman from another dealer because that’s the way it’s always been done,” Hague says.

“We want frontline dealer staff to focus on delivering a first-class customer experience that makes the car buying process enjoyable and simple. Our target for 2016 is to see dealer profitability going up, staff attrition going down, while at the same time introducing a new way for Mazda to measure customer satisfaction.”

About the Author(s)

Alan Harman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

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