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MAZDA in the UK will launch an online new-car sales platform under the “Mazda Your Way” banner allowing dealers and customers to have live chat sessions or a video product presentation and access test drives with a car delivered to their home.

Customers are able to remotely reserve their chosen Mazda with a contactless reservation fee and opt to have the vehicle personally delivered to their home, meaning that “customers can go through the entire car-buying process from the comfort of their home if they wish”, the company said.

In the UK, 98 Mazda dealers – representing 85 per cent of the brand’s network – have signed up to the new program.

Mazda Australia has not commented on whether this particular system will find its way to this country but said it already offered a “click and deliver” strategy with dealers that has particular benefits for Melbourne.

The strategy allows for contactless new-vehicle deliveries during the Covid-19 period.

In the UK, the Mazda program has yet to move to online sales. Instead, it aims at directing customer inquiries to its dealer network.

However, the company told Automotive Management Online that an online website for retail business was being planned and expected to be launched “over the coming months”.

Mazda UK has admitted that with no online buying solution for new cars – an end-to-end and click-and-collect process – it has had weak sales since March. Mazda Your Way was introduced in 2015 but enhanced in line with the pandemic and aimed at customers who were reluctant to attend a dealership.

Mazda Motors UK managing director Jeremy Thomson said: “While we appreciate the importance of the traditional physical showroom and service centres, and will continue to invest in our network, we have also designed a programme to build comfort and reassurance for our customers who now wish to engage away from dealer premises.”

“The new Mazda Your Way offers customers the flexibility of still being able to visit a dealer – where they’ll receive a great customer experience – or the option to connect with the dealer in a way that suits them best throughout the ownership of their Mazda.”

Mr Thomson said the program would be enhanced when it became a full end-to-end online sales platform later this year.

Mazda UK continues to offer test drives and sales from its franchised car retail sites.

Mazda My Way home test drive was launched as a test in 2015 and employed 10 “brand champions” that were trained to place the emphasis on customer service and product knowledge, rather than sales.

Mazda then officially rolled out the program in 2018 and dealerships took responsibility for the program in their individual PMAs.

At that time, Mr Thomson said: “I was very conscious that we had to have proof of concept before we took this to the network and we now have that. We’re handing over all that we’ve learned and there will be no rise in retail targets for My Way dealers.”

By Neil Dowling