It's been 26 years since ADESA Winnipeg brought something new to Winnipeg's automotive scene.
"We started with one lane and 15 employees," recalled Gregg Maidment, the auction house's vice-president and general manager for Western Canada.
"Today, we have six lanes and over 200 employees. And, as of this year, we've processed close to 900,000 vehicles in Winnipeg. Across Canada, we process about 50,000 vehicles a week."
ADESA Winnipeg, which celebrated its 26th anniversary on May 30, has also broadened its reach to become an international player through its LiveBlock internet technology.
"Our online auction technology, called Openlane, working in conjunction with our LiveBlock technology, expands on our ability to provide service to buyers and sellers globally from Winnipeg," Maidment said.
Two years ago, ADESA Winnipeg introduced a public auction program through which the auction house on Highway 7 just north of Winnipeg auctions off vehicles for private individuals.
"We sat down and determined that 35 per cent of used vehicles are private sales," Maidment said. "We can offer private sellers a global market for their vehicles. We guarantee an offer within seven days. There are no risks -- the seller can reject the offer if it's not to his liking. But a lot of the vehicles that we have sold over the past year for private owners have sold for more than the asking price."
"No one else offers this service."
For example, he said, one customer who was asking $3,000 for her vehicle actually got $7,000 for it.
"Professional people, and retirees who are downsizing, may want to sell their vehicles privately but don't necessarily want to have strangers coming to their doors," Maidment said.
"Every week, we're selling dozens of privately-owned vehicles to buyers from coast to coast. We expect that figure to grow to hundreds a week."
"There's a huge demand for used cars,"
Along with growing sales, ADESA has continually expanded its transport fleet so it can deliver vehicles to customers' doors across Canada, he added.
Another area where ADESA's presence is growing is in charity work. Maidment said ADESA personnel have volunteered their time to more than 50 different charity auctions in just the first five months of the year.
"We did an auction for the Dream Factory which raised $300,000 in 90 minutes."
(The Dream Factory provides toys and games, organizes meetings with famous people and can arrange a trip or party for children and young people with life-limiting or terminal illnesses or sever disabilities.)
Maidment noted that ADESA Winnipeg has renamed its annual Golden Gavel Golf Tournament and live auction "Drive for the Kids". Funds raised from the tournament, scheduled for June 10 at Niakwa, will go to Variety-The Children's Charity of Manitoba, ADESA's partner in a new fundraising program called "Bids for Kids".
Under the program, donors will be encouraged to go online and donate their used vehicles, boats, snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles. ADESA will auction them off and give the funds to Variety which, in turn, will issue tax receipts to the donors.
"Variety Manitoba's president recently introduced the concept at an international Variety meeting in Dublin where it received an enthusiastic response," Maidment said, noting the charity is now taking the program across Canada and to the other countries.
"Drive for the Kids" was officially launched in December and the first auction was held a couple of weeks ago, he added.
"We raised over $30,000 for Variety at the auction, One man donated a 1949 Studebaker that sold for $5,000. And a drilling company that had recently replaced its fleet of vehicles donated five or six of their older trucks."
New ownership for St. James Volkswagen/Audi
Another family-owned Winnipeg auto dealership has opted to join a larger organization. As of April 1, St. James Volkswagen/Audi has become part of the AutoCanada auto group.
AutoCanada is one of Canada's largest multi-location automobile dealership groups, currently operating 30 franchised dealerships with more than 1,200 employees in six provinces.
St. James Volkswagen/Audi was founded by Charlie Saladin 43 years ago. His son, Russ, took over the dealership's day-to day operations in 1982, and Rick Hetherington joined as a partner in 1992.
Saladin said he will remain as the store's general manager, while Hetherington has retired, but there are no other immediate changes planned.
The dealership has separate showrooms for its Volkswagen and Audi products at its 670 Century St. location, with a common service area linking them. "Eventually, we will be building standalone stores for each of our brands," Saladin said. "The timetable for construction is up to AutoCanada."
St. James Volkswagen/Audi is AutoCanada's second store in Manitoba. It also owns Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Thompson, Mb.
AutoTown Kia raises money for Humane Society
On May 25, AutoTown Kia gave away a hot tub to one lucky customer and also held a fundraiser for the Winnipeg Humane Society.
Throughout the day, the Manitoba Auto Mall dealership hosted a day-long "Likes for Love" event which raised $550, a figure that was matched by management. On hand to greet customers were Humane Society volunteers and "ambassador dogs" Ben and Abbey.
The dealership also raised another $1,358 on Facebook throughout May, said general sales manager Warren O'Connell,
Anyone who purchased a new or used vehicle at the dealership in April and May was eligible for the hot-tub draw. Devon Pohl from Morden was the lucky winner -- he'd bought a used model a few days before the draw and happened to be in the dealership last Saturday to pick up his car.