Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Birchwood KIA West now exclusive Cadenza dealer

As of August 1, Birchwood Kia West has become Kia Canada's official Cadenza store for Manitoba.

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The Cadenza, which was first introduced in April, is Kia's first model for the full-sized luxury segment. It was a soft launch, notes Birchwood Kia West general manager Ryan Kolmel.

"Initially, every Kia dealer was allocated one or two models to get the product out there," Kolmel says. "But only one dealership in each area is authorized to sell and service the model now and we are the Cadenza centre for Winnipeg."

He reports that the choice of dealer for the Cadenza was based on a number of factors including showroom capacity, demographic of customer base and location. One factor working in favour of Birchwood Kia West is that the dealership shares the Pointe Wets AutoPark with several other luxury brands including BMW, Mini, Volvo, Jaguar, Infiniti and Land Rover.

Kolmel notes that 400 square feet in the showroom is being dedicated to the Cadenza models and there will be two sales reps and a couple of technicians have been designated as Cadenza specialists. The technicians flew to Toronto this week for specialized training.

The new model is powered by a Lambda 3.5 MPi DOHC engine that outs out 293 hp and 255 lb.-ft. of torque.

"It's a wonderful car to drive," says Kolmel of the Cadenza. "It's whisper quiet and handles beautifully both on the highway and in city driving."

He notes that the Cadenza comes with a number of features that are generally only found in higher end luxury vehicles. Among the standard features, he cites the 18" wheels, active bending headlights, heated and air conditioned leather seats, hands-free calling and dialing, Amplitude Selective Damper (ASD) shock absorbers, blind spot detection, front and rear parking assist and advanced smart cruise control that monitors the gap between you and the driver ahead and applies the brakes automatically if you get too close.

There are two Cadenza model options. The base model sells for $37,795 (plus freight and pdi). The Premium model starts at $46,795 (including freight and pdi).

Customers get special perks, Kolmel notes.

He points out that while there may be some wariness about the new body because it is new to the North American market, the Cadenza has been available in Europe and Asia for the past three years and has been very well received.

Birchwood Kia West will have an official launch for the Cadenza some time in September.

2014 Odyssey now in

Manitoba Honda dealers welcomed the 2014 Odyssey to their showrooms near the end of July.

"The new Odyssey has some minor changes from last year," says Birchwood Honda West sales rep Damien Burns. He notes that the front and rear fascia has been changed to give the vehicle more of a premium look.

The big news, Burns notes, is that the Odyssey is the first model to include an in-car vacuum system. The HondaVAC is standard on the Touring model.

People love having the vacuum in a van," Burns says. "It can reach anywhere in the vehicle."

The vacuum is stored in compartments on one side of the cargo area. The system comes with replaceable filter, canister bag and nozzle accessories.

Honda has also stepped up with new standard safety features in the 2014 model, Burns adds. These features include an available forward collision warning system, standard rearview camera, available multi-angle rearview camera, available expanded view driver's mirror and available Lane Watch blind spot display.

All trims are powered by a, 3.5-litre, 24-valve, SOHC, i-VTEC V6 engines which produces 248 hp and feature HandsFreeLink-bilingual Bluetooth wireless mobile phone interface and new text message functionality.

"The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Odyssey as one of the safest vehicles on the market," Burns reports.

The starting price for the base model LX, Burns says, is $31,685 (including freight and pdi). The special edition SE can be had for $33,685. A fully loaded Touring model will cost you just under $49,000.

New GMs at Birchwood BMW/Mini Winnipeg, Birchwood Honda on Regent

With a new BMW store under construction and sales increasing steadily, it's a great time to be general manager of Birchwood BMW/Mini Winnipeg, says Mike Dobush who came over to the Pointe West AutoPark store from Birchwood Honda on Regent at the beginning of July.

"I am really enjoying being at this dealership," Dobush says. "BMW is one of the premier luxury brands. The product is fantastic, the staff is great and we have a really good group of customers."

One feature that Dobush really likes about his new position is being able to get to know all the customers because Birchwood BMW/Mini Winnipeg is a smaller, boutique type store.

Dobush began his career in auto sales 16 years ago at Birchwood Honda on Regent. He has been in management for the past 13 years dividing that time between Birchwood's two Honda stores and the company's former Kia Stores.

He reports that the new BMW store, currently under construction behind the existing store, is scheduled to be completed early next year after which the present store will be transformed exclusively into a Mini showcase.

Dobush' replacement at Birchwood Honda on Regent is former store sales star Robyn Van Dam. Van Dam joined the sales team at Birchwood Honda on Regent in 2008 and quickly made her mark. Three years ago, she was promoted to sales manager. In March, after returning from maternity leave, she took on the position of general sales manager.

"This is a great opportunity," Van Dam says of her new role. "Our store has been very successful over the past few years. We are growing rapidly. I will be focusing on maintaining customer enthusiasm and continuing to grow the business."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2013 E3

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