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Mazda UK leads new initiative to drive gender balance throughout their dealer network

We’re delighted to confirm that Mazda UK is leading a new initiative to drive gender balance throughout their dealer network, by bringing on board eight new CEO/MD members to join the Automotive 30% Club.

Eight of our latest members are part of this Mazda cohort of dealers, including Eddie Hawthorne, CEO of Arnold Clark who joined as a Patron earlier this month, and Shaun Foweather, Managing Director of Stoneacre who was announced as a Silver Member recently. Read more from Eddie, here, and Shaun here.

Leading the new initiative, Laura Brailey, Head of Retail Operations at Mazda UK, said:

“Mazda has been a member of the Automotive 30% Club for a number of years, and I’m proud that we have taken many steps to embed an inclusive and cohesive culture at Head Office. From our own research it’s clear our customers want change within the dealership environment, and in order to influence a positive and meaningful change, we wanted to tackle this at the very highest level. Many manufacturers are aware of, and seeking to improve the gender balance issues in the retail auto sector, but we believe that by harnessing the energies, enthusiasm and influence of our larger groups and thought leaders, we can show by example how this issue can be resolved and accelerate change through the network. Within our Mazda Gender Balance Initiative cohort, the eight groups have 32 Mazda dealerships, or 25 percent of our dealer network. Added to the four existing Automotive 30% Club members with Mazda franchises that rises to 47 dealer points, or 40 per cent of our UK dealer network. However, there is a much greater opportunity; if Mazda can support and influence a positive change, it is reasonable to think this can extend across all brands the groups have which totals to a huge 578 dealer points across the UK. It’s great to have the 12 dealer groups on this journey with us, and I hope we can use the invaluable learnings from this cohort as a catalyst to prompt other dealership groups to rethink representation and culture within their own dealerships. There is no quick fix, but we have a real opportunity here to improve the diversity and gender balance within our own circle of influence, and to retain and nurture the excellent female talent we already have in our network. By reframing our language within job descriptions and job roles, reassessing business policies, introducing mentoring schemes to uplift talent and engage allies, we aim to encourage our dealer partners to build a successful gender- balanced business and contribute to something that can really make a difference to our brand and industry.”

Julia Muir, Founder of the Automotive 30% Club adds: 

“I am extremely pleased that Paul Woodhouse, Trevor Leggett, Steve Petch, Tony Roberts, Neil White and Mike Berwick have all become members of the Automotive 30% Club as part of the cohort led by Mazda UK, along with Eddie Hawthorne and Shaun Foweather who were the subject of earlier announcements. 

This group of inclusive leaders are going to share best practices to accelerate the pace of change towards a gender-balance in their businesses and it will be very exciting to see how we can then share the learnings with the wider Club membership. We have already met for a full day workshop and it’s clear that these leaders will make great progress. I thank them all for their commitment to their 30 by 30 strategies and I am also very grateful to Jeremy Thomson and Laura Brailey of Mazda UK for leading this collaborative approach in the network.”

Now we hear from our latest members, who have joined the Automotive 30% Club.

Paul Woodhouse of Sandicliffe Motor Group comments:

“Sandicliffe is very proud to be joining the Automotive 30% Club. We sell and provide services to a diverse range of customers and are focussed on having a team that reflects the make-up of our consumer base. With 50% of our customers being female, a significant area of this plan is our desire to increase the number of women in our business.”

Trevor Leggett of Green Four Motor Company says:

“I have always been committed to hiring a balance of talent during my decades in the industry and ensuring equality of opportunity within every role across the business. Looking forward I would like to further encourage gender diversity within our company to reach greater levels of success.”

Neil White of TW White and Sons states:

“As a family run business, our colleagues are at the heart of our organisation. I am proud of the diverse and inclusive culture we already have and I am excited to be joining the Automotive 30% Club – a network of other forward-thinking individuals and organisations – to continue this journey with.”

Tony Roberts of Magna Motor Company says:

“It was without hesitation we happily committed to joining the Automotive 30% Club. As we conclude our 51st year in business with nearly 250 colleagues, the balance and talent in our business will only be improved by our involvement in this club, coupled with a commitment to future development of our human resource.”

Steve Petch of SG Petch comments:

“We are excited to be joining the Automotive 30% Club and I believe it is perfect timing as we see the need for the automotive industry to evolve and we want to play our part in it. I believe that the benefits of a diverse team with different views but balanced goals and a vision to work together can only make our business more successful. As a company, we have always looked to grow our own and want all our team to feel comfortable and happy at their work. Only then can we expect to retain the talent that is needed for a successful business that will support the community in every aspect for the long term.”

Mike Berwick of Johnsons Cars adds:

Improving gender balance in our leadership teams is at the heart of our business objectives in moving forward. We simply cannot ignore the opportunity with the talent out there and we will be working with the Automotive 30% Club to deliver a strategy which will attract more women at all levels into our business.”

We look forward to working with each of our new members to continue driving change within the sector. A huge thank you to Mazda UK for the continued support!

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