In part two of how Mazda cars are delivered to British drivers, head of sales planning and distribution Paul Crisp shares how 45,000 new Mazdas make it to customers each year.
After being ordered by Mazda UK, or one of our dealers, new Mazda cars are shipped from Japan or Thailand to Britain. They are stored at the port in Zeebrugge, Belgium, and we work with vehicle transport companies to have cars brought to the UK. Our transport partners are ECM, based in Carlisle, Stobart Europe, and in Northern Ireland it’s Woodside Motorfreight. When you consider that a transporter costs in the region of £250,000, and some operators count over 400 lorries on their fleet, you get a picture of the investment involved behind the scenes of vehicle delivery.
Once a dealer’s ordered car arrives in Zeebrugge, they have 15 days to request delivery. If the dealer chooses to leave it in the port, after 15 days the car becomes available to the rest of the Mazda network. This is a good way of ensuring dealers and customers have access to greater stock availability and helps us reduce waiting time.
When a dealer requests a car for delivery the port gets the car ready and makes arrangements with the transport companies to fit the car into their load planning schedules.
Most of our cars are transported into the UK on ships bound for Rosyth in Scotland, Killingholme in Lincolnshire or Purfleet in Essex. A few years ago, to improve service to the South West, Cornwall and Midlands, we started loading cars directly onto transporters in Zeebrugge to provide a roll-on/roll-off service on ships to Purfleet or through the Channel Tunnel. It gives us contingency options with routes, and is a vastly improved service.
Mazda dealers act in a spirit of partnership and often give up their own stock to help out another dealer fulfil an order
On average, it is currently taking 10 days for cars to arrive with dealers, compared to our 15 day target.
We help dealers to get the right car in the right specification at the right time. Our dealers also act in a spirit of partnership and often give up their own stock to help out another dealer with orders or – for example – when a customer changes their mind.
When a car’s on its way, the dealer’s service manager will book the car in for its pre-delivery inspection (PDI). All material for protecting the car in transit is removed, and the car is thoroughly checked following a strict procedure. It is also appraised on the road.
Technicians are allocated a special PDI package, which is literally a box of parts that are specific to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the car. It features UK specific equipment such as wheel locking nuts, satellite navigation maps, window etching kit and owner’s manuals.
With the PDI complete, the information is uploaded to Mazda’s digital service record (DSR). Then the service manager liaises with the sales person to ensure the car is prepared, registered and scheduled for a vehicle handover at a time that best suits the customer.
That handover explains the controls, nuances of systems – notably the increasingly diverse infotainment – and how to care for the car over time. Many dealers will set the customer’s favourite radio stations and add other personal touches when handing over the keys of the customer’s new Mazda. It’s a simple way of ensuring the car gets the best possible start for the next phase of its life, with its new owner behind the wheel.