Mazda Motor Corp. has launched a trial Internet ordering system that allows customers to configure vehicles in combinations not available at dealerships.
The system, called the Web-Tuned Factory at www.w-tune.com for now is limited to the Roadster, known in the United States as the Miata, and the 323/Familia S-Wagon. After configuring a car, online shoppers are offered a choice of nearby dealerships at which to complete the paperwork.
The new system will reduce inventory costs and improve sales staff productivity, Mazda says.
'In Japan, salesperson productivity is almost the worst in the world,' says Mazda President Mark Fields. 'We own a majority of our dealerships. So the quicker we can improve their productivity, that falls to our bottom line.'
Reflecting its savings, Mazda will lower the price of the base S-Wagon by about $1,300, for those using the system.