Flying start for Mazda3 as dealers praise SKYACTIV models

The arrival of all-new Mazda3 – shortlisted for next month’s European Car of the Year award – has given a timely boost to the UK dealer network as it looks to build on the success of Mazda6 and Mazda CX-5.

January sales of all-new Mazda3 were 33 per cent ahead of forecast and total orders since launch on 3rd January are approaching 1500, again ahead of forecast.

This early success comes on the back of Mazda enjoying a 19 per cent growth in annual sales in 2013.

“The new model is first rate and is proving extremely popular,” said Paul Brayley, Dealer Principal at Hertfordshire-based Brayleys Mazda, who has represented the brand since June 2012.

All-new Mazda3 is the latest in Mazda’s range of pioneering, lightweight SKYACTIV models, praised by Brayley for being “a straightforward proposition that is far easier to understand and explain to customers than hybrid or electric car technology.

“If we understand it then so will our customers. It is a simple concept, if a car is lighter, fuel consumption will improve.”

David Tuomey, Managing Director of Windsors Wallasey, the Merseyside-based multi-franchise dealer group, which has been a Mazda dealer for more than 20 years said: “The launch of all-new Mazda3 has come at just the right time for the network.

We are now seeing a broader spectrum of customers attracted by the new models and orders for the all-new Mazda3 have been all conquest,” he said, adding that one of Mazda UK’s strengths was their communication with the dealer network.

“They hold twice a year talkback sessions with us and they are very open and honest. You get to know what’s going on and what their challenges are. If manufacturers work well with their dealer partners, the partners will work well with them.

“A lot of things I like about Mazda come from the top and that means we will go the extra mile for them.”

Brayley also praised the talkback sessions with Mazda UK Managing Director Jeremy Thomson and his team, adding that the company is “easy to do business with and it’s easy to get to talk to the right people. “Our profitability has improved recently and will get better as we get a more natural demand for volume. I have a lot of optimism for the future and I’d really like to open more Mazda outlets.”

This is a sentiment echoed by Tuomey: “Increased sales are also helping to boost profitability for the 136-strong dealer network,” adding that he was confident it would continue to improve.

Mazda UK sales in the nine months of the financial year to the end of December 2013 were 22,153, 34 per cent up on the same period in the previous year.

“We’ve worked very hard to improve communication with our dealer network and it’s encouraging to see both new and long-serving dealers appreciate that,” said Mazda UK Sales Director Peter Allibon who noted that Mazda’s growing reputation as a franchise of choice for dealer groups looking to expand, would be enhanced as the company prepares for the launch of more ground-breaking models.

Open points in the network remain in Edmonton, East London; Hull; London’s Docklands; Reading and Sunderland.