Mazda Retail Revolution
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT—With competition tougher and today’s car buyer
educated by the Internet, Dean Hill Automobile Dealerships have taken
another step to shake up the market place with the bold unveiling of
the first Mazda Retail Revolution store, a brand-exclusive dealership
-- the first in New England – at the entrance to Sykes Avenue in White
River Junction, VT. A Grand Opening is slated for Saturday, May 14.
The new dealership features A Build-Your-Own Dream Car center, a
salesperson free zone to make the customer comfortable and a new,
colorful, hi-tech open environment, all part of Mazda’s Retail
“The idea is to offer car shoppers a Zoom-Zoom experience -- the same
spirited and exhilarating feeling new car owners have when they drive
their new purchase off the showroom floor,” explains Andrew Button,
CEO, Dean Hill Automobile Dealerships.
The new Dean Hill Dealership will feature only one automotive brand –
“While most dealer franchises currently share facilities with another
automotive line, Mazda North America is pushing a brand-exclusive
approach, a move which has proved to increase sales in Canada and spur
sales in the United States,” reports Button. “We immediately embraced
the concept that blends high-tech architecture, an m Cafe’ where
customers can quickly get the information they need, a salesperson-free
zone and the Mazda Test Drive.”
The new dealership saves customers that have researched their choice
lots of time.
“We’re turning the dealership experience up side down, focusing on the
vehicles before the deal and providing information quickly via a wired
showroom that will allow the customer to design his/her dream car. It
will help customers decide if they are truly excited by the vehicle
before the deal. The deal has gotten in the way of falling in love with
the vehicle,” Button explained.
“The showroom has traditionally been used to control the customer. We
want to make the customer comfortable by creating a no-pressure feeling
in our dealerships — like we’re all sitting around a kitchen table
conducting family business. The Zoom-Zoom approach shatters the notion
that buying a car is a painful process -- akin to having a root canal
-- and replaces it with a fun, interactive, responsive dealership
experience,” Button emphasized.
Experts agree that the glut of Internet information has created a new
showroom dynamic. According to the J.D. Power & Associates’ 2003 New
Autoshopper.com study, nearly one half of new-vehicle buyers say the
Internet influenced their make/model purchase decision.
More than 70 percent of Mazda consumers spend nearly six hours on the
Internet before making their purchase. Customers know what they want
and how much they want to pay.
When they arrive at the Dean Hill Mazda dealership, customers can sip
free coffee in the m Café where they can view a Mazda vehicle on the
Internet and customize it; visit other automotive web sites to compare
and contrast vehicles and surf for a better deal at web finance sites.
To make the experience fun, video game stations featuring Mazda
vehicles are also plugged in, as is a large plasma TV. Shoppers can
even race a Mazda RX-8 on a Sony PlayStation 2, complete with steering
wheel and pedal controls.
In addition, sales staff will carry wireless Personal Data Assistants,
which allow them to more effectively answer customer questions, as well
as check vehicle stock and help expedite service appointments. The idea
is to save time and streamline the process.
One of the first things a customer will be offered is a 20-to-30 minute
test drive over a special course through city traffic, out onto the
highway, flow through curving roads and up hills to test all of the
aspects of Mazda vehicles on the road. The Mazda Test Drive has been
created to highlight the company’s mantra, “Mazda…Always the Soul of a
Acknowledging that drivers cannot fully appreciate the vehicle on a
short trip around the block, each Mazda Retail Revolution dealer
custom-tailors a test drive route to take into account selected roads,
traffic patterns and road conditions specific to each location.
“The enhanced test drive will allow drivers to experience the vehicle
in a variety of both fun and practical driving situations. Buying a
car represents too great an investment to be based on a
around-the-block test,” acknowledged Button.
The changing face of the dealership includes the store’s appearance --
which differs greatly when compared to other dealerships. Everything
has been designed to grab the consumer’s eye, from the variety of
accent colors, in lime green and bright orange hues, to an equally
prominent front window display showcasing a brightly illuminated
elevated Mazda vehicle. The interior is clean and open with Mazda’s
full line of vehicles parked in the Drive Center waiting to be taken
for a drive.
Dedicated kiosks provide intimate details for every customer question
and plasma-screen displays are scattered throughout playing video clips
of Mazda’s motor sport heritage.
“The Mazda building plans had to be adapted for Vermont both for the
weather and environmental concerns,” said Tom Chase, President, Neagley
& Chase Construction Company. A 10,000 cubic foot state-of-the art
detention and treatment system was created to capture water run off;
the lighting package was designed to get a rebate from Efficiency
Vermont; a recycling system was built to store vehicle oil and then use
it to heat the building; a new wall design had to be created that was
“These were among other adaptations that had to be made to what were
essentially milder climate architectural plans,” he added.
Mazda installs the technology and provides training sessions for sales
and service associates at the dealerships to retrain their instincts
from one of control to a car-first, customer-centric mentality.
“The Retail Revolution philosophy fits right in with the way we conduct
business in all of our franchises,” said Mike Luciano, director of
sales for the Dean Hill Automobile Dealerships. “Our growth and
penetration in the marketplace has been built around serving the
customer, attracting shoppers that want to research their purchases on
the Internet, and giving back to the community. We support meaningful
programs in both the Upper Valley and in the Keene area by working with
non-profit organizations and other community-based groups to donate
resources, expertise, funds and personal time.”
Dean Hill employees have helped paint rooms at a day care center,
raised funds for children’s healthcare, brought awareness to family
farms, supported world-class sporting and tourism events, promoted the
arts, and brought joy to children during the holidays.
“The addition of the Dean Hill Mazda store will serve to enhance our
customer, employee and community efforts,” he added.
Described as the fastest-growing dealerships in the Upper Valley,
Button Automotive Group acquired Dean Hill Motors, the number one rated
SAAB dealer in the United States for customer satisfaction since 1991,
located in Claremont, New Hampshire in 2002. In October 2003, Dean Hill
Motors SAAB relocated to its brand new $2.8M state of the art facility
located in White River Junction, VT.
Button Automotive has continued its rapid growth with recent
acquisition of Smith Auto Sales in Lebanon, NH, the oldest Buick,
Pontiac and GMC dealer in the United States, now named Dean Hill Buick,
Pontiac, GMC. Button Automotive will continue the 97- year heritage of
The opening of Dean Hill Mazda brings the total Dealerships operated by
Button Automotive to five and sales in excess of 100 million including
Dean Hill Volkswagen and Dean Hill Subaru in Keene, NH. Dean Hill Saab
in Keene, NH is slated to open this summer.
The first Mazda new retail philosophy facility opened in Bountiful,
Utah in January of 2003. 21stores have been completed nationwide. Mazda
expects approximately 30% of its 700 US dealership franchises to be
Retail Revolution facilities in the next five years.
Automobile dealerships play an important role in the retail economies
of Vermont and New Hampshire. According to the Vermont Automobile
Dealers Association, Inc., in 2001, Vermont's new car dealers employed
2,878 employees with a payroll of $110 million, and generated $1.5
billion in automotive sales and service. This represents 20.7% of total
retail sales in Vermont. Figures for New Hampshire were similar.