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Automotive News discusses Mazda's new dealership concept. You must be registered to follow the link. For those that aren't registered:

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If Mazda wants to break from the rest of the Japanese automotive pack, it has made a dynamic move with a showroom design unveiled here last week.  

A riot of blaring orange, vibrant green and electric purple, the new Mazda dealership is miles from the conservative grays and whites of most showrooms.  

"We wanted something that stood out, something that matched our idea that Mazda is fast, fun and cool," said Charlie Hughes, president of Mazda North American Operations.  

Bountiful Mazda, nestled hard against the mountains north of Salt Lake City, is the first Mazda dealership to embrace the design.  

The 19,000-square-foot store sits on slightly more than two acres of land. The building and land cost about $2.3 million, not counting the capitalization for the dealership, said dealer principal Michael MacDonald.  

Bountiful's showroom is the premier store in Mazda's effort to upgrade the franchise from its second-tier status.  

Mazda dealers could use the boost. Mazda sold 258,213 vehicles in 2002, a 4.2 percent decline from the previous year.  

The showroom was planned by Design Forum of Dayton, Ohio, although dealers are allowed to tinker with the blueprints. In Bountiful's case, the layout was flip-flopped to account for the slope of the surrounding land.  

So far, only 20 of Mazda's 700 dealers are building the new showroom, said Jim Hoostal, Mazda director of dealer development. Hoostal thinks the arrival of new products such as the Mazda6, Mazda3 and RX-8 sports car will persuade dealers to change their showrooms without his having to resort to arm-twisting.  

The automaker isn't pushing the concept hard. Hoostal declined to say what its targeted number of redesigned dealerships is, nor would he give details of Mazda's financial support program.  

An industrial look  

The overall look of the store is like a giant service bay. Rather than traditional interior walls, Mazda went with an industrial theme, using horizontal-slatted metal siding. A gleaming yellow Mazda6 is mounted on a towering, glass-enclosed lift just inside the entrance.  

Other design cues include a faux wind-tunnel fan behind the store's showcase vehicle - most likely the upcoming RX-8. The floors are cement, rather than tile. Climate control ductwork is exposed, rather than hidden behind drywall. Track lighting dangles shamelessly from the soaring ceilings.  

In the sales area, there are no "hot-boxes" for sales negotiation. All dealings are out in the open. Consumers and sales staff share a computer, and staff members are instructed to refer to third-party Internet sites such as Edmunds.com and kbb.com, the Kelley Blue Book site, to take some of the distrust out of the deal.  

Espresso and a video game  

A MazdaCafe serves espresso and has a flat-screen TV showing Mazda vehicles at top speed. A nearby monitor allows shoppers to try their hand at driving an RX-8 on a Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo video game.  

The store's exterior has the same wild paint scheme, which would seem more at home at an amusement park than at a car dealership.  

"We call it 30 mile-per-hour branding," Hoostal said, referring to the speed of traffic on the boulevard outside the showroom.  

The service bay is just beyond the cafe, with a giant window to allow people to watch what is happening to their cars. A special drive-up lane is reserved for those who want a 20-minute oil change.  

While the dealership was under construction, Bountiful averaged 40 new and 40 used vehicles a month, "selling out of trailers," said MacDonald, who once sold Chevrolets in Detroit. He hopes to raise that to 600 new Mazdas and 600 used vehicles a year.  

In the early 1990s, Mazda's Salt Lake City metro dealers had nearly 6 percent market share, compared with Mazda's 1.5 percent nationally. MacDonald is hopeful that the franchise can return to those glory years.[/b]
 

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Replying to Topic 'New Mazda Dealership concept'

Great, a Mazda juice bar.

It's not a bad idea but I'll say there'll be a 80% failure rate written all over it.

People who buys Mazda is all about bottom line. Having this kind of setup will inflict extra cost to the dealerships to maintain this bar. So the dealership will only have 2 choices, take the cost themselves or pass the buck to the customer.

And how many customer will come in for a juice and buy a car?

A local computer shop tried this idea a while back but it went bankrupt within 20 months. Let's hope Mazda will do better.

The no distrust model is good though. But I wonder how many dealers are resisting this. And if you really want me to trust you, show the MSRP and the actual dealer cost.
 

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Reading Topic: New Mazda Dealership concept

Interesting. I'm not confident it will work either. I like the attempt at creating an informal relationship between the salesman and the customer. I speak from experience that people are much more receptive to sales on a more informal level than a "suit and tie" guy (at least on this level, that is). I also like the sharing of a computer - it provides an openess, a trust. These will help break the "used car salesmen are a**holes" barrier, which needs to be done.

Then again, the salesmen could break that barrier just by not being a**holes!
 

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Replying to Topic 'New Mazda Dealership concept'

The cafe should be self sustaining. Obviously Mazda is looking to upgrade their brand image. This cafe thing goes along with the new test drive experience. They apparently mapped out cool test drives for all 700 dealerships, so that the salesmen could encourage the customers to drive the cars hard. There will be special test drive areas at the front of the dealership so that noone feels awkward about asking for one. You can already schedule a test drive on the Mazda website with a specific model and transmission. The dealership should have that model ready for you when you show up. So now you go out on a twenty minute long test drive. When you return, you feel thirsty, so you go get a coffee or juice and sit down with the salesman to discuss buying. Doesn't this sound better than the typical dealer experience? It does to me.

As for salemen being a-holes: I think a lot of that trickles down from the dealership owners. If Mazda corporate sells the owners on this whole concept, then the owners will hire and train accordingly. Salesmen are often on very tight quotas, so feel that spending time with non-buyers is a waste of their time. In reality, five minutes today could reap a big reward later, but most of these guys don't get that concept. For instance, while we were on vacation we went to a Mazda dealership to check out the 6. A salesman approached us, and I immediately told him we were tourists and wouldn't be buying; I was just interested in the car. He stayed with us anyway, and gave me the keys to a 6 so I could sit inside. He was very pleasant and personable, and makes me MUCH more likely to buy Mazda.
 

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Reading Topic: New Mazda Dealership concept

I think mazda is trying to do too many things at the same time. They shouldn't get cocky.

I think they hsould focus on their lineup first, and perhaps simultaneously on the quality of service (QOS) of their sales force. Mazda should focus on educating as many (if not all) of their dealerships on their vehicles and on low-pressure, high-return sales strategies. While Mazda have begun to put a serious dent in the germans in terms of engineering and performance, they stand to differ in image from standard japanese car dealerships. That is where I think Mazda could really begin to hurt its true competitors- Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

IMO,
-Alt
 

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Replying to Topic 'New Mazda Dealership concept'

Hmm, orange and green where have I seen that before....

 

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Reading Topic: New Mazda Dealership concept

It's the car Mazda used to win LeMans in 91'. Not sure if they banned rotaries or just changed the way they calculated it's displacement. But same result. I don't think Mazda cared after they won, point was proven.
 

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Reading Topic: New Mazda Dealership concept

What is the story behind that ban anyway? It seems extreme that they would ban the design after only one win. Did everyone else whine about an unfair advantage? Did it dominate that much? What were the specs on the engine?
 
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