Pembcorp Auto Group is expanding its footprint in southern Manitoba with the opening of a new Chrysler store in Carman on April 8.
The town’s previous Chrysler dealer closed more than 10 years ago.
"We’re very excited about our new store in Carman," said Pembcorp president Bernie Clement. "Carman is a growing community. It’s been one of the fastest-growing communities in Manitoba over the past five years. It’s the right market for us and we feel that we have the right location. This move fits with our strategy for growth."
Carman Chrysler will be located on Highway 3, next door to Carman Ford Sales. The building used to house a machine shop and a boat dealer.
"We’ve made significant improvement to the property," Clement noted. "We want to send the message that we intend to be there for a long time."
The new store will stock about 60 new and used models and be staffed by two sales reps, two technicians and a detail specialist. The dealership will also offer a quick-lube service.
Ralph Wasserberg, Pembcorp’s new vice-president-sales, has been given responsibility for running the new operation.
"Ralph is a great individual," Clement said. "He’s done well in every position he has filled for us."
Wasserberg has been around the industry most of his life. "I started working with my dad about 20 years ago when I was a young teenager," he said.
He started working for Pembcorp when Clement acquired Pembina Valley Chrysler in Morden five years ago. Wasserberg worked in the Morden store at different times as service manager, business manager, sales manager and, most recently, general manager and dealer principal.
The Morden store’s sales have doubled since 2010, Wasserberg noted, adding that Kevin Dodge is the new sales manager there. Dodge, a 20-year veteran of auto sales, was sales manager at Pembcorp’s flagship Pembina Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Winnipeg. (Pembcorp’s other stores are Prairie Fiat, next door to Pembina Chrysler Dodge Jeep, and Portage Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Portage La Prairie.)
Replacing Dodge as sales manager at Pembina Chrysler Dodge Jeep is Ron Clark, who has been in auto sales and management for 15 years, all with Chrysler dealers.
Clement has been in the auto industry for more than 25 years, much of that time as an executive with Chrysler Canada. In the fall of 2006, he returned to his hometown of Winnipeg as the new owner of Pembina Chrysler Dodge Jeep. He acquired the long-time dealership from original owner Ike Vickar.
New 2013 Lincoln MKZ arrives
Ford’s 2013 Lincoln MKZ has just driven into town. The first model arrived in Winnipeg Ford-Lincoln dealer showrooms about two weeks ago.
"The new Lincoln MKZ is an exciting vehicle," said Parkside Ford Sales rep Don Thomas. "The MKZ has been totally redesigned. Ford is really upping its game with the new Lincolns to make them more competitive with the other luxury brands."
Thomas noted that Ford hired a new design engineer who is revolutionizing the Lincoln brand. "Lincoln is become a real luxury brand for the masses," he added.
The new model is powered by a 2.0L Ti-VCT I-4 EcoBoost engine which produces 231 hp (with regular gas) and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Also available is a 3.7L 24-valve Ti-VCT V6 engine with 300 hp and 277 lb.-ft. of torque.
Among the new model’s features, Thomas said, are LED headlights and tail lights, top-quality Bridge of Weir leather, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and air-conditioned front seats, standard intelligent push-button start and voice-activated MyLincoln Touch technology.
"You also have a choice of moon roof," he added. "You can get the regular moonroof or the wide-open panoramic moon roof."
The base-model MKZ is selling for a starting price of $38,350 (plus freight and pdi). The top-of-the-line model with AWD sells for $47,300 (plus freight and pdi).
Thomas said a hybrid model will soon be available for about the same price as the standard gas-powered models.
"We have close to two dozen customers waiting to see the new MKZ," Thomas said, adding that there’s just one model in Parkside’s showroom with five or six more on order.
Adelman new Parkside Business Development manager
Also new to Parkside Ford is Daniel Adelman in the role of business development manager.
Adelman has been in the auto industry, largely in management, for the past five years since his family closed their long-running Penthouse Furniture store. He joined the Parkside Ford team at the end of February.
"I’m happy to be here," he said. "I like (Parkside Ford dealer principal) Cam MacIver’s business model. The culture here is fantastic and the people are great. There’s a friendly, family-style atmosphere here."
Adelman said that he was brought on board to "enhance the overall Parkside customer experience. We’re introducing DealerSocket, a new customer-relationship management process. Our goal is to improve the quality of our contacts with our customers."