Mazda's foray into the small fleet market with a focused 12-month programme is being extended for a further two years.
The Business Development Programme was officially launched in May last year with 16 dealers. Subsequently a further 19 franchise dealers joined the programme and others are queuing up to become involved.
To-date the programme, which focuses on the sub-50 fleet sector, has resulted in the opening of more than 360 accounts with businesses collectively operating more than 7,700 company cars.
A total of 276 vehicles have so far been delivered through the scheme, which sees franchise dealers working in tandem with an outsourced specialist sales team, which has been established by Magma Services, part of the London-based automotive specialist Magma Group.
Following the success of the 12-month initiative, Magma Services has now been awarded a two-year contract to further drive forward SME business in conjunction with Mazda.
The team of four business development managers are located regionally to support dealers in maximising local business opportunities in their respective areas. The quartet spend at least 50% of their time working with the dealers on prospecting, marketing and joint visits.
They spend the remainder of their time exploiting direct selling opportunities to local businesses and educating SMEs about the opportunities available to them in running their fleet vehicles in partnership with Mazda.
Its fleet and remarketing director Steve Jelliss said: "Investment in the programme in terms of helping franchise dealers establishing relations within businesses in their areas is being rewarded with significant business opportunities.
"Companies that have taken delivery of Mazda vehicles represent conquest sales for the brand. Moving forward the business development managers will not only be working with dealers new to the programme, but they will also support the franchises in training staff to pro-actively manage our fleet customers."
He added: "Not only are dealers benefiting from the initial supply of new Mazda cars to fleets, but they will also see workshop business increase as a result of service, maintenance and repair work.
"For the first time in many cases, businesses are experiencing a local franchise dealer approaching them with information and advice on company car acquisition and operating policies and procedures.
"The business development managers working with selected dealers over the next 24 months will leave a legacy that is sustainable long term. Ultimately by forming a strong partnership with SMEs in their respective areas the dealers can look forward to long-standing business relationships."