Mazda Europe's new team of finance experts is helping its dealers manage their money more effectively and taking the manufacturer-dealer relationship into new territory.
"We believe the automotive industry has not focused enough on helping dealers with cash-flow and balance-sheet management," says Philip Waring, Chief Operating Officer, Mazda Motor Europe.
"Cash is king in every business, not least in a small or medium-sized business like a dealership. Our new team helps dealers release cash that is absorbed in their balance sheets, and to manage their banking relationships."
In the UK, that job falls to Chris Talman, who took up his new role as Dealer Financing Manager earlier this year. The new post coincided with Mazda's switch to Santander for its financing needs.
Talman's role is to help monitor dealer cashflow and find ways to reduce their reliance on bank overdrafts. He focuses on a small percentage of dealers to assist and improve their profitability as a result of more efficient use of financing resources.
The process is being repeated across Europe. "In a small or medium-sized dealership, there can be tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros locked up in the balance sheet - in unpaid retail financing, un-financed used or demo cars or fleet debtors for example" says Colin Maddocks, Director of Network Development and Financing, Mazda Motor Europe.
"The new Mazda team can review the processes and controls that affect these areas and unlock cash, taking pressure off the dealer's bank account and freeing up their time to manage the rest of the business.
"Many manufacturers are still using old-fashioned business management consultants to try to help improve dealer profitability by making a fraction more on a sale here or an after sale service there," Maddocks explains.
"Good dealers do not need that help - it just takes up valuable management time. For those that do require support and guidance this new resource can have a positive impact to our partners businesses helping to manage cash, balance sheet and financing matters."
This hands-on approach is helping Mazda to build a reputation as franchise of choice among entrepreneurs looking to open a new car dealership.
"Mazda is increasingly a franchise of choice for dealers because we treat them as partners," concludes Mr. Waring. "We are easy to do business with and want to minimise franchise cash requirements. Our team of experts is another example of how we add value to our dealers" businesses, which is why we are recruiting more great dealers into the franchise."
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