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Mazda’s new retail experience

Customers can also use the store to configure the new car of their choice on a massive wall-mounted touch-screen – Source: Mazda NZ

Mazda New Zealand has developed a new business model for its retailers called Connect, following Toyota New Zealand’s recent “Drive Happy” restructure.

The first Mazda Connect store will open on April 27, in Silverdale, 30km north of Auckland.

What are the major changes?

There are no salespeople, only Mazda “ambassadors” whose job it is to provide information and assistance to the customer, rather than push the product. 

Customers can also use the store to configure the new car of their choice on a massive wall-mounted touch-screen. 

The main difference is in the commitment to a non-automotive location, the presentation of the brand and the attitude towards the customer, says Mazda NZ national marketing manager Glenn Harris and AHG country manager Mike Critchley to Stuff NZ.

“This is not a pop-up store like we’re used to in lots of malls around NZ,” said Harris. “This is here to say. We’ve taken a six-year lease out on this space and we believe this is the future.

Mazda NZ’s stake in the retail project is the first step in creating a franchise format that can be used around the country. A second store is already confirmed for Wellington in October.

“We need to do things differently, as a retailer, we need to evolve. Everything’s changing around us, but we in the automotive category [seem to be] the last to change.”

“If you look at some of the others who have started to make their home in our industry, we have to learn from them: the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon,” said Harris.

“Connect is the first embodiment of how we believe the automotive retail model will evolve, and we focus as much on how we present our brand and where we present it, as what we build.”

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