Mazda's plan to offer cash incentives to dealers willing to build exclusive dealerships or stand-alone showrooms got an enthusiastic reaction at the convention.
One dealer, Bud Smail, says he was ready to pour the footings for an extension to his Mazda-Lincoln-Mercury store in Greensburg, Pa., when he heard about the new plan.
He called home and ordered the cement trucks to turn around. Everything went on hold.
"We're going to get some drawings and crunch some numbers," says Smail, whose Mazda-Lincoln-Mercury store is part of his 10-franchise holdings. "This is a very attractive program."
Last year, Mazda created a showroom design. Now Mazda believes it needs exclusive dealerships for the franchise to stand out.
Mazda will offer cash incentives from the date that dealers sign the paperwork for new construction. The deal is similar to one unveiled by Kia Motors America last year.
Starting April 1, Mazda will pay $350 per car sold to a dealer willing to build an exclusive store. If the dealer builds a stand-alone showroom and shares a service shop with another franchise - a popular option in smaller markets - Mazda will chip in $175 per car. The offer runs through March 2007, says John Mendel, executive vice president of Mazda North American Operations.