Mazda : Unlimited Opportunity

“I would defy any of my competitors to open their warranty books (to prove lower warranty costs per VIN). Our warranty costs are exceptionally low.” David Klan, Senior Director of Sales, Marketing and Regional Operations, Mazda Canada (Photo: Michael Goetz )

“I would defy any of my competitors to open their warranty books (to prove lower warranty costs per VIN). Our warranty costs are exceptionally low.”
David Klan, Senior Director of Sales, Marketing and Regional Operations, Mazda Canada (Photo: Michael Goetz )

Mazda Canada takes a cue from Mazda Australia, offering no mileage restrictions on new-vehicle warranties.

Back in November of 2014, Mazda Canada rolled out its new Unlimited Mileage Warranty, eliminating the distance limitations on virtually all its factory warranty coverages — three-year comprehensive, five-year powertrain, seven-year anti-perforation, etc.

Only the eight-year Emissions Defect warranty still maintains a distance limitation (128,000 km).

“It perfectly fits the DNA of our brand,” said David Klan, Senior Director of Sales, Marketing and Regional Operations, Mazda Canada. Speaking with AutoJournal immediately after Mazda’s presentation at the auto show in Toronto, Klan added that the brand has been built on “defying convention” and heading out on “the road less travelled,” and Unlimited Warranty Coverage builds on that vive la difference legacy.

It is also a great fit for a brand that prides itself on being “fun to drive.”

“We’re saying to our customers, you can drive as far and as much as you want,” said Klan. “We just thought it really resonated with who we are.”

No apologies

But introducing more warranty coverage could also be seen in another light — as a way, perhaps, to ease the minds of consumers who might be wary of a brand’s questionable service and repair history.

Klan is emphatic that that is not the case.

“Our move is totally with a confident posture. It’s not apologetic in tone, or because people don’t think the brand is strong on quality. Quite the contrary, we can offer this type of coverage because we are so confident about our vehicles. I would defy any of my competitors to open their warranty books (to prove lower warranty costs per VIN). Our warranty costs are exceptionally low.”

Mazda Australia’s excellent experience

Mazda Australia has had “unlimited” portions of its warranty coverage for over a decade. “We benchmark Mazda Australia,” said Klan. “They are an outstanding organization; excellent volume, market share, customer ex

perience, profitability. We hold Mazda Australia in high regard and think they had good success with Mazda Unlimited.”

Currently the only other Mazda operation on the “unlimited” plan is Mazda France, which also initiated it late in 2014. Klan believes the U.S. operation is also strongly considering it.

Gain more than you lose

Mazda Unlimited comes with some cost to both Mazda Canada and to Mazda Canada dealers. But according to Klan, it is a tradeoff well worth making.

Mazda Canada consulted its National Dealer Council about the unlimited plan, many months before the launch. “We talked about the potential impact to business office products, and to service work, and we really felt those impacts were negligible, versus the whole lift on consideration.”

Mazda and its dealers also sensed an opportunity to expand its business office products, and in conjunction with its business partners, now offer a fourth and fifth year of comprehensive coverage of the Mazda Unlimited Warranty.

Measuring success

How will Mazda Canada measure the success of the Unlimited initiative?

According to Klan, it’s a bundle of things that might be hard to put a numerical value on. But he’s expecting a “pure consideration list” — more people putting Mazda on their shopping lists.

So far, they believe it’s working, at least judging by the talk on social media platforms, where many people have commented that they will now add Mazda to their short lists.

The other part of the equation is offering current and potential Mazda customers a better ownership experience, via less customer pay repairs, and having an overall stronger and more positive relationship with their individual dealerships.

Forbes Waterloo Mazda feels the Unlimited Mileage Warranty will certainly have a positive impact on its service operations.

“In this business we are continuously working to build loyalty

for Mazda owners, by encouraging them to bring their vehicles to the dealership for regular maintenance for the life of the vehicle; having the vehicle within the warranty period for longer, builds upon that loyalty,” wrote Jason Stainton, the dealership’s General Manager.

Targeting high-mileage customers

One customer type that will surely be attracted to the elimination of distance limitations for warranty work is the high-mileage driver. Whether through big commutes, living in remote areas, or driving for work, many rack up more than 22,000 kilometres or so a year, which is more or less the average annual amount mostCanadians drive.

“We have begun to contact our above average kilometre-per-year drivers to see if they wanted to exchange their current vehicle for a 2015 or newer, which qualifies for the Mazda Unlimited Warranty,” noted Stainton. “We had some success with that and have a number of customers that are waiting for the right time to do that exchange. We continue to recognize these opportunities with our current owners.”

In addition to that, Forbes Waterloo Mazda includes Unlimited Warranty messaging in all of the dealership’s online, print, and radio advertising.

“We’re just a few months into it at this point,” concluded Klan, “but so far it’s been positive. We’re excited about it.

 

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