- The Washington Times - Friday, November 7, 2008

CHANTILLY, Va. |Customers at an innovative new dealership will be treated to some R & R.

In military terms, that stands for rest and recreation, or rest and rehabilitation. Either one also could describe the anticipated experience for shoppers at the new Brown’s Mazda store in the Chantilly Auto Park.

The dealership is the first in the Washington metropolitan area to adopt Mazda’s RR plan for its dealers. In Mazdaspeak, it stands for “retail revolution.”

It involves physical design, but it also describes an ambiance and attitude toward customers that is 180 degrees away from the sometimes demeaning experience of buying a new car at a traditional dealership.

The grand opening here of Brown’s drew the presence of Jim O’Sullivan, the president and CEO of Mazda’s North American Operations.

In an interview, he said that the purpose of the RR program was to enhance customer satisfaction in a difficult sales environment in which knowledgeable Internet-savvy consumers often have their homework done before ever setting foot in a dealership.

Though there are many aspects to the RR program, perhaps the most notable is the mCafé, an area set aside for customers to relax and, if they wish, shop other cars and dealerships. The café has refreshments, free WiFi for laptops and a computer for people who don’t bring their own.

It means that a customer, after negotiating a deal at Brown’s Mazda, could simply sit down and check out other offers at competing stores in a no-pressure atmosphere. “It’s an experience more like an auto show,” said Robert Devaux, Brown’s general manager. “We want to create an experience of trust and confidence.”

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