Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Automax, GAS Performance find new home

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As of Monday next, the Dilawri Auto Group's Automax Pre-Owned Supercentre and GAS Performance divisions will operate out of the former Sunshine Toyota building at the Waverley Automall.

Sunshine Toyota became the new Crown Scion Toyota store on the other side of Waverley at the beginning of March.

"We needed the extra space," said Len Daman, the Dilawri Group's newly appointed manager of pre-owned operations. "At this new location, we have better public visibility, a larger showroom and more display space for our GAS Performance high-end products."

The operations have been in business since 2005. At their former location between the Dilawri Group's Winnipeg Honda and Crown Nissan stores, they were sharing space with the auto group's WAM Collision Centre and D-Max Detailing Centre.

At the new store, Automax will be able to stock about 100 models, almost double what the dealership could keep on hand previously, and be more customer-friendly, Daman said.

The biggest changes at Automax will be a one-price, no-haggle policy and sales staff who are paid salaries rather than commissions.

Daman's new role marks a return to the Dilawri Group after working for eight years as an industry consultant. He specialized in advising dealers and manufacturers throughout North America on how to increase customer retention.

Crown Toyota Scion

Also returning to Dilawri is Sebastiaan Roovers as the new general sales manager at Crown Toyota Scion after a hiatus from the industry for three years. Roovers previously worked in management at Dilawri's Winnipeg Honda and Sunshine Toyota stores.

"Don Saranchuk (the Dilawri Group's vice- president of Variable Operations) called and said the Dilawri Group needed me," Roovers said. "I love this new store. It's awesome working in a dealership that is this nice."

Every year, Scion produces special limited-edition anniversary editions of each of its model lines. This year's 10th anniversary editions began arriving at Crown Toyota Scion at the beginning of August.

Zac Friesen, the dealership's Scion specialist, said the store was scheduled to receive just one model in each category. The Scion tC 10th anniversary model was pre-sold. The xB, xD and FR-S models are still available. The iQ model is still to come.

What sets the limited edition Scions apart each year is the colour -- "silver ignition" this year with matching silver-tone seat belts and silver stitching -- as well as a Scion badge on the front and back of the vehicles. The iQ, xB and xD models also sport darker alloy wheels. The FR-S 10th anniversary model comes with HID headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control and a push-button ignition.

Friesen said the limited-edition models have badge numbers inscribed on the inside of the driver's door and cost about $2,500 more on average than their mass production counterparts.

Birchwood Nissan Infiniti

Birchwood Nissan Infiniti has just welcomed the new 2014 Infiniti Q50, which replaces the outgoing G sedan.

"We have had a phenomenal response to the Q50," said newly appointed dealership sales manager Lee Okabe. "It's a real fun vehicle to drive. A lot of our clients are thrilled to get behind the wheel."

The new Q50 is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, and is powered by a 3.7L DOHC V6 engine with variable valve timing that produces 328 hp and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. Okabe said the car's new Infiniti InTouch system personalizes such features as driving position, ventilation temperature, navigation, audio and assorted telematics.

The new model sells for a base price of $37,500, Birchwood Infiniti also has a hybrid model in stock that sells for $57,000.

Okabe noted that he and his team of veteran sales rep George Brazier and newcomer Joe DeSilva broke an all-time sales record for a month in July.

"We've been setting monthly sales records every month since the end of last year," he said. "We have a great team here."

And the classy new showroom that opened for business at the beginning of December also helps, he added.

New GM VP Drops in on Vickar Chev

On Monday, August 19, Vickar Chevrolet hosted John Roth, General Motors of Canada's new vice-president and general manager in charge of sales, parts and service.

Roth, who took on the role as of August 1, "was travelling across Canada visiting GM dealerships," said Vickar Chev president Larry Vickar. "He congratulated our team on being the top-selling volume retail GM store in Canada in 2012 and the first six months of 2013.

AutoTown Kia staff pitch in at Siloam Mission

Eight AutoTown Kia staff members spent their Aug. 21 lunch break at the Siloam Mission serving meals to the homeless.

"We served lunch to about 400 people," said AutoTown Kia sales manager Warren O'Connell. "People were appreciative. It was a rewarding experience."

AutoTown Kia's contributions to the mission, which also included a $1,000 donation, were part of Kia Canada's "Drive Change Day", O'Connell notes. "It's a corporate initiative to have dealers give back to the community," O'Connell said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 30, 2013 E6

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