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Mazda boom brings growing pains

Infrastructure: New-car sales boom leads to a retail outlet focus for Mazda.

Mazda seeks better after-sales service as record sales run continues apace

Mazda logo30 Nov 2005

IMPROVED customer service and repeat business is considered vital to Mazda’s long-term existence in Australia.

The company’s sales surge here over the past few years has seen its market share double to around 6.8 per cent.

This year Mazda is aiming for a record 67,000 new vehicle sales, 7000 more than was forecast at the start of 2005 and more than 12,000 units ahead of last year.

But the company has also highlighted a number of pressing needs.

Mazda is keen to maintain a high level of dealer after-sales service and commitment in order to keep buyers satisfied.

To that end, it is seeking more high-quality "frontline" staff to better deal with people who walk into, or use, a dealership.

Storage facilities for stock also need to be improved. This not only involves the greater volume of new vehicles going through the facilities, but also usedcars/trade-ins and spare parts.

Increased new-car sales has also raised the need for better servicing facilities, be it extra space for the work, improved customer waiting and lounge areas and a more efficient ability to deal with greater demand.

Mazda’s overall "carpark" (the number of its vehicles on the road) in Australia has effectively doubled since 2000.

The number of Mazda dealerships will not grow in metropolitan areas, but there are already increases in "near-metro" sites, as evidenced by the recent opening of an outlet north of Perth, which is one of the largest Mazda dealerships in Australia.

The company is also keen to achieve a higher number of repeat purchases, which – for a value-for-money brand – is tricky as buyers often move up to prestige and luxury marques as they age and move through life.

"Historically people go in and out of the brand ... so loyalty rates are in fact relatively low for us," said Mazda Australia managing director, Doug Dickson.

He cited consumers changing their house or job, moving interstate or even getting other people to buy their vehicle for them as reasons why it is difficult to keep in touch as the years go by.

"Recognising the multi-purchase patterns so as to track buyers (is the key)," Mr Dickson said.

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