AM News Show: Mazda UK online retail launch and agency model imperfect fit

Mazda UK Sales Director Peter Allibon discussed the Japanese brand’s difficult launch of online retail, its direct vehicle imports into the UK and the retailing of model cars. agency in an extensive interview with the AM News Show.

Allibon joined AM news and features editor Tom Sharpe in the Armchair Marketing studio as a series of episodes were produced for the popular automotive retail Youtube podcast, including the recently shared focus on learning with JCT600 and the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).

Among the topics discussed as the pair discussed the challenges and opportunities for the Japanese brand in 2022 were:

  • Reaping the benefits of a Brexit triggered the decision to import cars directly into the UK to reduce delays and possible logistical headaches.
  • Address the challenges of supply restrictions using new derivative models.
  • Evolution of car retailing: Mazda UK has continued its at-home test drive program with the launch of an online car retailing offer – but limited vehicle supply is limiting its reach.
  • Diversity in car retailing: Mazda UK’s efforts to diversify the workforce of its franchised car retail network with guidance from the Automotive 30% Club.

Also on the agenda were questions regarding the introduction by some rival OEMs of agency model retail agreements with their retail partners.

New vertical block exemption regulations impacting new retail agreements were drawn up by the European Commission this month, while UK retailers await the outcome of deliberations by the Competition and Markets Authority ( CMA).

Commenting on the growing momentum of the agency model, Allibon told the AM News Show, “I see the agency model working very well in a truly digital world, but how much is involved online and offline (in an “online sale”)?

“I see the agency model pointing to a full online process where prices can be set and dealers have provided a handling fee for vehicle delivery.

“The customer feedback we’ve received isn’t necessarily what the consumer wants.”

Allibon said car shoppers want an omnichannel retail journey, a “combination of both worlds” offering a mix of online and in-dealership interaction.

“While that combination is there, I don’t see the agency as the perfect fit,” he added.

More episodes of the AM News Show click here.