General Motors has completely redesigned its popular Silverado for 2014, and the newly-arrived pick-up truck is already selling well, local dealerships say.
"We sold two within the first couple of weeks, and we have written quite a few factory orders," Birchwood Chevrolet Buick GMC sales rep Peter Spindler said of the new model that has been on the ground here since mid-June.
Among the new features are a six-foot six-inch cargo bed, side steps on the back bumpers, tie-down hooks that make it easier to secure cargo, a LED lighting layout under the rail bed that makes it easier to see the items at night and a rock guard along the bottom of the vehicle to prevent chipping.
The 2014 model is powered by the EcoTec3, an entirely new engine family that optimizes fuel economy and power based on how you drive. There are three engine options — a 6.2L V8 engineered to produce maximum power and towing capability plus a new level of efficiency; the all-aluminum 5.3L V8, which balances towing capability and efficiency; and the high-torque 4.3L V6 which delivers confident acceleration for hauling and towing while maximizing efficiency.
All engine options use direct injection with Active Fuel management and variable valve timing. The 2014 model offers increased horsepower and torque and an upgraded suspension.
Spindler said the optional MAX Trailering Package on the 6.2L V8 offers improved maximum ball-hitch towing capacity. Seven-pin and four-pin trailer connectors are now included in this and every trailering package. When it comes to hooking up, the available Rear Vision Camera makes it easier to connect the trailer.
On the road, Trailer Sway Control works with StabiliTrak to automatically apply the brakes or reduce engine power when needed to keep you on the road. Auto Grade Braking automatically downshifts the transmission to aid in going downhill. Tow/Haul mode keeps the transmission in the right gear, for longer periods, in stop-and-go driving and on hills.
Inside, Spindler points out the heated (in winter) and cooled (in summer) fibre seats and controls that are grouped by function and strategically located for optimum visibility and accessibility.
The base price for the new Silverado, he said, starts at about $20,000 (plus freight and pdi), much the same as last year.
Gauthier rep celebrates five decades of GM sales
This month marks 50 years that Al Hirsch has been selling General Motors products.
"I feel like I’ve been selling cars almost since the wheel was invented," jokes the still-enthusiastic 76-year-old.
"I have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve been very fortunate. General Motors is still the industry leader as far as I’m concerned. I’m glad to be with them."
Hirsch actually started selling cars 53 years ago at a Volvo dealership. In 1963, he joined the staff of Ed Vickar’s Community Chev. In 1980, he moved over to Jim Gauthier’s GM operation and has been there ever since.
Hirsch has earned induction into GM’s Sales Marketing Guild 31 times in his career.
"I enjoy this business," he said. "I enjoy meeting people. I believe in treating people like family. I keep in touch with my customers through the years.
River City Ford doubles its sales force
Business is booming at River City Ford on west Portage near the Perimeter.
New car sales are up so much since the beginning of the year — about 20 per cent to date — that the dealership has almost doubled its sales staff. And general sales manager Ryan Monczunski said he’s looking to hire a couple more.
The new sales reps — Sam Scammell, David Barthelette, Michelle Tavares, Addison Malkovich, Christian Steeds and Said Dost — bring a variety of work experiences to River City Ford’s team. Dost is the only one with previous experience in auto sales, Monczunski said.
Tavares, Steeds and Barthelette have previous retail sales experience in other areas, while Scammell and 19-year-old Malkovich were working as tradesmen.
The new sales reps went through the dealership’s training program and have been working on the sales floor for the past three months, averaging seven or eight sales per month, Monczunski said.
At the beginning of January. River City Ford introduced a new salary program for its sales staff, replacing the commission structure that most dealerships use.
"Our CVR (Customer Viewpoint Ratings) stand at 92 per cent this year as compared to 83.5 per cent last year," Monczunski noted. "That tells us that our new approach is working."
New sales manager at Auto Haus Volkswagen
Sean Cornborough was appointed sales team leader at Auto Haus Volkswagen at the beginning of May.
Cornborough, who has been in the industry for close to three years, joined the Pembina Highway dealership’s team last October after being invited by his good friend, Michael Desgroseilliers, the new general manager at Porsche Centre Winnipeg, sister dealership to Auto Haus.
"Mike and I worked together at the last dealership I was at," Cornborough said. "I liked working with Mike.
"There are a lot of great people here. The management is great, too."