Construction has begun at Birchwood BMW/Mini as the Pointe West AutoPark dealership undergoes a $4-million expansion, adding 12,000 square feet to the existing store.
"We have the piles in the ground and we're on schedule," said Rene Nicholson, projects manager for the Birchwood Automotive Group, adding that the existing showroom will be converted to house only the store's Mini lineup.
"At the existing store, we will be painting everything -- the floors, paneling and ceiling -- black, because black is the colour the manufacturer wants."
Nicholson said the new addition, to house BMW models will have very high-end finishes. "There will be a real wow factor when we're done," he said.
The new BMW store is scheduled to be ready in about eight months, with another three or four months needed to complete the Mini store makeover.
The Birchwood Group is also about to upgrade its flagship Chevrolet Buick GMC store.
"We are re-imaging the dealership to meet General Motor's imaging requirements," Nicholson said. "We'll be installing all-new paneling, erecting a tower and replacing the signage, the furniture and the carpeting.'
There will also be a new customer reception area, customer lounge, a staff lounge and washrooms," he said. "We've already installed new LED lighting in the showroom, which makes for more consistent lighting."
The project is expected to cost a little over $1 million, with work slated to get underway next week and finish around the end of November.
One other new Birchwood project on the drawing board is a new storage compound nearby in Headingley.
"We set a sales record for the Birchwood Group for the month of April," Nicholson said. "We need to create more space on our current lots for customer and staff parking and serving cars. We bought some land in Headingley and hope to store 500-plus models there. We're waiting on final approvals and hope to begin construction within the next three months.
Kia Rondo Rides into Town
Kia has continued to overhaul all of its models with the arrival of the 2014 Rondo at Manitoba dealerships in early May.
The Rondo used to be skewed toward older buyers because of the ease of getting in and out of the car, said Birchwood Kia on Regent sales team leader Gord Workum. The new model still provides that ease of entry and exit, but has been redesigned to appeal to all age groups, he said. "The new model is a lot more stylish," Workum said. Fellow sales team leader Ross Roteliuk added that the comfort levels are "way up. I would drive a Rondo all day long."
The new model has a 2.0L L4 DOHC 16-valve which outs out 164 hp and 156 lb.-ft. of torque and is more fuel-efficient than its predecessor.
"The 2014 Rondo still has great cargo space and seats five or seven," Roteliuk said. The car sells for a starting price of $21,695, plus freight and pdi.
Workum said the dealership has already sold quite a few new Rondos. "A lot of our customers are upgrading from their older models to this new one."
Birchwood sales rep runs for CancerCare
Three years ago, Birchwood Chev sales star Michael Palay lost his wife, Elana, to cancer at the young age of 40. A few months later, he also lost his father to cancer.
Since then, Palay has been on a mission to raise money to help find a cure for the disease. He contributes $50 from every sale he makes to the cause and, next Saturday (June 8), he is running in his third CancerCare Manitoba Challenge for Life Run -- a 20K marathon beginning and ending at Assiniboine Park.
Palay said his goal this year is to raise at least $7,500 for cancer research. With the help of his clients, he added, more than $15,500 to has been donated to CancerCare from "Vehicle sales in Memory of Elana (Dil) Palay". Donations can be made through his website (michaelpalay.com) or by calling the dealership (204.837-5811 ext. 3153).