Jeremy Thomson - Managing Director, Mazda Motors UK [photograph]
Our engagement with the Automotive 30% Club dates back some years and I am delighted that Mazda UK was the first OEM to achieve the critical first-step milestone of a 30% gender balance in our senior team; something that re-set expectations and fundamentally changed the internal culture of our business, leading the way for better diversity and a more progressive working environment that is now seen as a benchmark for our European organisation.

With the dramatic changes in working practices and consumer engagement since 2020 – many of which I am certain will endure – I sense that the timing has never been better to turbo-charge our actions to achieve a permanent and long-overdue balance across our workforce in every aspect, but particularly in gender representation.  We must invest more in introducing the auto sector to women who perhaps would not have considered it, nurture and sponsor our internal talent and be bold in removing the remaining obstacles.

Nowhere in the sector is the issue more prevalent and deep-rooted than at the dealers/retailers.  Particularly in the car sales functions, operational management, and dealer owner/investor areas, the imbalance is particularly poor with just 4% of Dealer Principals and 11% of Sales Executive roles filled by women (2022 Mazda survey of the industry).  Not only is this grossly unfair, but it damages the image of all manufacturer dealerships, and manufacturer Brands, with our mutual customers whose values, gender mix, and expectations are simply not met when they visit the UK’s 4,500 franchised outlets.

Changing this is my passion and I am delighted to strengthen further my connections with the 30% Club. Last year we developed a unique concept with a mass recruitment of Mazda dealers to the Club, co-funded and supported by Mazda UK.  This cohort now represents over 50% of our entire network and because the actions we persuade them to take should be brand agnostic, they have the potential to reach over 700 multi-franchise dealer points in their respective Groups.  I hope to amplify the message of the Club, but more importantly to continue to make meaningful, practical steps in achieving its ambitions.