About 80 percent of Mazda's U.S. dealers will get next-day delivery of factory parts when five new parts distribution centers are operating next year.
Now only about one-third of Mazda's dealers in North America get next-day delivery, the company says.
Mazda is investing about $20 million in the centers, according to John Cunningham, group manager of parts operations and transportation for Mazda North American Operations.
The new centers will be in Chicago; Atlanta; Dallas; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Ontario, Calif. The Ontario warehouse already is running, and the others should be up within 12 months, Cunningham said.
Michael MacDonald, a Mazda dealer who owns two stores near Salt Lake City, says shorter delivery times mean fewer special orders. Special orders cost extra for expedited freight, and dealers don't get the discounts available with regularly scheduled orders.
Cunningham said higher gasoline prices and freight costs prompted Mazda to improve its distribution system.
Increased competition from independent repair shops also helped push Mazda to make the investment.
"There's a lot of competition for our customers' dollars for repair and maintenance, so we had to be prepared to meet the changing markets head on, and Mazda was ready to do it," Cunningham said.
The new centers will replace the two existing Mazda parts centers. An older warehouse in Ontario, Calif., already has closed to make way for the new center, and Mazda also will close its center in Olive Branch, Miss.
That Olive Branch center ships parts to about 45 percent of Mazda dealers in the United States, but only 11 percent of them get next-day delivery.