Mazda Europe says its team of finance experts is helping its dealers manage their money more effectively and ‘taking the manufacturer-dealer relationship into new territory’.

With European car sales sharply down this year, the retail side of the industry continues to be hit hard with many car dealers under extreme financial pressure and going out of business. Mazda’s initiative is aimed at helping some of its dealers who may be in need of assistance with the management of their finances.

“We believe the automotive industry has not focussed enough on helping dealers with cash-flow and balance-sheet management,” says Philip Waring, Chief Operating Officer, Mazda Motor Europe

“Cash is king in every business, not least in a small or medium-sized business like a dealership. Our new team helps dealers release cash that is absorbed in their balance sheets, and to manage their banking relationships.”

In the UK, that job falls to Chris Talman, who took up his new role as Dealer Financing Manager earlier this year. The new post coincided with Mazda’s switch to Santander for its financing needs.

Talman’s role is to help monitor dealer cash-flow and find ways to reduce their reliance on bank overdrafts.  He focuses on a small percentage of dealers to assist and improve their profitability as a result of more efficient use of financing resources.

The process is being repeated across Europe. “In a small or medium-sized dealership, there can be tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros locked up in the balance sheet – in unpaid retail financing, un-financed used or demo cars or fleet debtors for example,” says Colin Maddocks, Director of Network Development and Financing, Mazda Motor Europe.

“The new Mazda team can review the processes and controls that affect these areas and unlock cash, taking pressure off the dealer’s bank account and freeing up their time to manage the rest of the business.

“Many manufacturers are still using old-fashioned business management consultants to try to help improve dealer profitability by making a fraction more on a sale here or an after sale service there,” Maddocks says.

“Good dealers do not need that help – it just takes up valuable management time.  For those that do require support and guidance this new resource can have a positive impact to our partners businesses helping to manage cash, balance sheet and financing matters.”