16 August 2016
Gowling WLG has advised car manufacturer Mazda on its innovative Mazda MyWay programme, which champions the use of 'virtual' dealerships to sell cars to the public.
Mazda's initiative is a first in the automotive industry and revolutionary in the car buying process. Customers request a test drive and a brand champion drives the vehicle to their door. If they decide to purchase, they complete the process online without visiting a traditional dealership, including all customisation of their chosen vehicle. The online system allows customers to easily obtain multiple offers and new technology such as smart advertising is used to promote the service.
The team from Gowling WLG faced the challenge of meeting all of Mazda's commercial requirements, including all aspects of the project from the initial structure to putting in place the various commercial agreements required to carry out such a unique project. The overall objective was to bring to market a solution to solve problems associated with the traditional dealer experience, being in particular the sheer space needed to host a dealership in areas with high real estate costs.
Mazda MyWay uses a third party service provider with previous logistics expertise to provide the test drive and delivery service. The service supports their existing dealer network while also enhancing the customer experience through brand champions, rather than salespeople, to assist the customer.
Gowling WLG's work on the legal and regulatory framework included:
- Competition law – ensure there were no issues in setting up the online virtual dealership supported by the existing dealer network.
- Consumer law regulations – account for consumers' rights in particular around online and distance selling.
- Financial services regulations – Brand Champions had the ability to discuss and complete vehicle finance in compliance with FCA regulations.
- Contractual structure – each party's obligations and risks are clearly understood.
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