Mazda using QR codes to connect renters to local dealers

Article by Christian A., on November 24, 2011

So that it will be easier for consumers driving rented Mazda6 units to know more about the car, those bound for Enterprise rental fleets have been tagged with a bar code. The renters are linked to local dealers and this could even lead to a future sale.

Smartphones could read the QR (quick response) codes, which have Internet links that open browsers to a Web site that contain the information about the rented Mazda6. It even provides the links to local dealers.

Rob Milne, director of sales operations for Mazda, said that the Mazda6 units will be distributed to around 1,000 Enterprise Rent-A-Car locations. Milne said that these consumers (the renters) are a source for sales leads. These vehicles will be placed at Enterprise insurance replacement offices that offer temporary replacement vehicles to customers whose vehicles are undergoing repairs or have been damaged in accidents.

Milne said that these renters are going about in their daily lives and are in their domestic market. Milne didn’t confirm how many Mazda6 units would be available for the deal but he said that the automaker will be producing the units for the next few months so that there would be sufficient coverage for these Enterprise locations. Enterprise’s program, which is dubbed OnRamp, is open to other automakers.

In June this year, we reported that production of the Mazda6 at the AutoAlliance International plant -- a joint venture site between Mazda Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. -- will end after the current life cycle of the sedan. Mazda has already confirmed reports from various Japanese media that production of the next Mazda6 will be consolidated into its site in Hofu, Japan.

Currently, three manufacturing sites around the world are producing the Mazda6. There is the plant in Flat Rock, Mich. that is operated by AutoAlliance International, which is Mazda's 50-50 joint venture with Ford. There is also a manufacturing site in Hofu, Japan, and another plant in China. Mazda has reiterated that it is considering plans for what is in store for AutoAlliance in the future.

In May 2011, the Japanese carmaker saw sales of its Mazda6 plummet by 53 percent to 1,639 units compared to the same month the previous year. Meanwhile, sales in the first months of 2011 totaled 13,604 units, representing a 9 percent drop from the same period in 2010.

In Mazda’s fiscal year that ended March 31, Mazda posted a $102.6 million loss for AutoAlliance. This pulled down its North American operations further. It was the sole region to log an operating loss in 2010.

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Topics: mazda, dealer

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