TEN minutes. It doesn’t sound that long, does it? Well, try sitting in your car with the engine running, trying to leave a car dealership and you’d be amazed how long it feels.
I know from personal experience and, believe me, it’s a frustrating period. I had popped in to our local Mazda dealership, Donald’s of Peterborough, to pick up a replacement power steering fluid reservoir cap after the original one had gone missing.
Once I’d been into the parts department to pay for the cap (£22.75, as you have to buy the bottle as well), I was all set to leave when the mid-morning bacon buttie van turned up and parked right across the exit.
Then, the staff from the dealership exited in their hordes to get their snacks and they all completely ignored my plight. So I continued to sit there, with the engine running, parked right behind the van, as everyone bought their snacks. Several of the staff saw me waiting but no-one thought to ask the buttie man to move for a second.
Only the man in the parts department who served me came to my aid, pointing out there was another exit, although this was also blocked by a delivery van.
It may not sound too much of a big deal, but customer service plays a large part in keeping customers coming back to your business time and again, and reputations spread quickly through word of mouth.
It’s all very well Mazda spending millions convincing us its cars are ‘zoom-zoom’, but little things like this can become a big deal.
This experience aside, the Mazda6 continues to impress as an all-rounder. Long distance comfort is excellent, the handling is on the sporty side and the turbodiesel engine is starting to return better fuel economy – it’s averaging 42.3mpg now, which is up from the last report, although still some way short of Mazda’s claimed combined figure.
Price: £18,250 (£18,575 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 165
Company car tax bill (2006) 22% tax-payer: £66 per month
Insurance group: 8
Combined mpg: 47.1
Test mpg: 42.3
CAP Monitor RV: £5,350/30%
Contract hire rate: £378
Expenditure to date: £22.74
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles