Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Booming AutoCanada buys McNaught dealership

  • Print
McNaught Pontiac Buick Chevrolet

Enlarge Image

McNaught Pontiac Buick Chevrolet

With the acquisition of McNaught Pontiac Buick Chevrolet, Pat Priestner's Edmonton-based AutoCanada are now the owners of four Winnipeg auto dealers - all acquired over the past 15 months.

Priestner had already added family-owned St. James Volkswagen Audi and Eastern Chrysler, as well as leading independent dealer Mid-Town Ford, before taking over McNaught on April 1. The AutoCanada family now numbers 33 dealerships in six provinces and is Canada's largest multi-location dealer.

Priestner, who grew up in Winnipeg, has been in the industry for 40 years, starting as a lot kid in Calgary. He founded AutoCanada 20 years ago and took the company public seven years ago.

Negotiations between the McNaught family and Priestner's team took about six months, Priestner said.

"We like the McNaught family. Gord Senior (the store's founder), Gord Junior and Andrew are really good car guys and will be staying on to manage the business."

McNaught is located right across the road from earlier acquisition Mid-Town Ford at the Waverley Auto Mall. Priestner said he and his team like the Winnipeg market and are looking to add still more stores to their banner.

"We view Winnipeg much as we view Calgary and Edmonton. We are looking forward to continued growth in our stores in all three cities," he said.

Frontier Toyota fetes women customers

About 150 satisfied Frontier Toyota customers showed up at the Regent Avenue store for the dealership's first annual "Women at the Wheel" evening on April 2.

The by-invitation, women-only event featured decadent desserts and edible fruit arrangements wine, tables displaying Givenchy perfumes from The Bay and products from Epicure Selections, gift bags and raffles, a presentation on healthy living by Barb Herda Cajas and an opportunity to view the new Corolla, Highlander and RAV4.

The event was an effort by management to show its high regard for its female customers and staff.

"It was a suggestion by one of our staff," said Lynn Ritchot, Frontier Toyota's longtime controller, who served as MC for the event. "We thought it was a great idea. It was an opportunity to give something back to the women who have supported us over the years."

Ritchot noted that Frontier Toyota's founder, the late Marcel Thompson, had a vision about hiring and training women to work in the industry at a time when that was rare other than as receptionists and secretaries).

"Marcel felt that women were good listeners, good at multitasking and had good organizational skills," Ritchot said "Other dealer principals thought he was crazy, but it worked out very well hiring women in all areas of the store."

Ritchot introduced Margaret Morton and Shayna Kemel, the store's two female sales reps, financial services managers Kristie Wisheranko and Jocelyn McKee, body shop manager Julie Johner, service technicians Amanda Nagel, Danielle Bradet and Stacey Cook and Cheryl Dubeck from the Parts department.

Ritchot also introduced Katheryn Ruhland, Toyota Canada zone manager for this region, who described her own climb up the corporate ladder. Ruhland has realized a number of firsts for Toyota Canada -- the first female marketing manager, public relations manager, sales manager in a zone and zone manager.

Ruhland noted that she grew up a tomboy and learned to fix cars at an early age from her father, a civil engineer. After studying marketing at university, she worked in Japan for three years. Her return to Canada coincided with the launch of the luxury Lexus line and she was hired by Toyota Canada.

"I was lucky that I was given a chance to combine my love of cars with my experience working in Japan," she said. "I figured that I would stay with Toyota for five years. That was 16 years ago."

"I'm proud to be working for a company that spans so many regions in Canada and a company that consistently puts its customers first."

She noted that Toyota Canada is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall.

"People believe in our product. Our stores have built strong relationships with our customers. I'm happy to see that this Women at the Wheel evening has been so well attended. I hope that one day we will no longer be counting firsts for women in the industry."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2014 A1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Your top TV picks for this weekend - Aug 29 - Sept 1

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Young goslings are growing up quickly near Cresent Lake in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba- See Bryksa 30 Day goose project- Day 11- May 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should panhandling at intersections be banned?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google