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Brandon dealer adds Chrysler store

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Kent Forman, president of Forman Honda and Forman Mazda in Brandon, has added Brandon Chrysler to his holdings.

Forman acquired the 45-year-old Chrsyler store in mid-September from the Larkin family, which had operated the dealership since 1977.

"It was a good opportunity," said Forman, who opened his Honda store in 1998 and acquired the Mazda store two years ago. "The store became available because the Larkin family wanted to retire.

"As a Honda and Mazda dealer, I lacked a full-sized truck option. The truck market is huge in this region. As a Chrysler dealer, I now have the trucks to sell."

Forman said the only major change that he has made to Brandon Chrysler's staff has been the appointment of Chris Irvine as general manager. "We have a good team already in place at the store. Irvine started working in the auto industry in Saskatchewan 23 years ago. He came to Brandon in June, 2005, to work as a sales manager at Murray Chevrolet. He was most recently general manager at Virden Mainline Motor Products in Virden.

Irvine said he and Forman have added one sales rep to the Chrysler team and hired an individual to manage the store website, customer retention initiatives and inventory.

The GM added that the store is now carrying 125 new Chrysler products and 50 used vehicles.

"We strived for a seamless transition and I think we succeeded," Forman said. "We will be making some tweaks and hope to increase our market share."

New Volvo models arrive

Volvo Canada's fleet of new 2014 models arrived at Jaguar Land Rover Volvo Winnipeg in late September with new looks and new optional features.

Sales rep Aaron Ledohowski said that the three new models in stock are the 2014 S60 sedan, the XC60 crossover and the XC70 wagon. All have new front fascias and the XC70 also has a new rear fascia and LED daytime running lights.

Under the hood, the new models remain the same as their predecessors. The S60 is powered by a 2.5L, inline 5-cylinder turbo producing 240 hp. The XC60 and XC70 models come with 3.2L inline 6-cylinder engines that also put out 240 hp.

"One new, neat optional feature is the pedestrian and cyclist protection system available on all three models," Ledohowski said. "The system features dual radar in front along with an attached high resolution camera. The system detects motion and proximity of an object and will automatically apply the brakes if a collision is imminent."

Ledohowski said all three models are all-wheel drive with three different theme loads -- Elegance, Eco and Performance -- each with different configurations and functionality. Other new options include a heated steering wheel and heated front windshield.

The new models range in price from the low 40s (for the S60) to the high 50s for the XC60 and XC70.

Auto Haus Volkswagen expands sales staff

Auto Haus Volkswagen has adding an additional sales manager and three new sales reps in the last few months.

The new sales manager is Jack Zheng, formally a store manager with Bell and Rogers. "I wanted to try something different," said Zheng, who joined the Auto Haus team at the beginning of July.

Zheng brought Michael Riggs with him from Rogers, while Steve Hodgson came to Auto Haus in June after three years at the MTS Iceplex. He may be best-known as former partner at the hockey pro shop at the River Heights Community Centre.

"I've always liked cars and I enjoy working with people," Hodgson said. "I like Volkswagens and I like the idea of working in a smaller dealership.'

Phil Robinson comes to Auto Haus directly from the military. He served for 16 years.

Why auto sales? "My pre-military experience was in retail sales," he said. "You meet a lot of good people in auto sales."

Zheng noted that Auto Haus' sales have been growing considerably. "We set a sales record for August," he said, "and September sales were also better than last year."

New auto technician training program

The Manitoba Motor Dealers Association and Winnipeg Technical College have announced a new joint Level One Technician Training program at the school.

Geoff Sine, the MMDA's executive director, said the new program will include three annual intake periods (every four months), with training technicians rotating through participating dealerships.

"The industry will also play a role in steering students into important areas with new technology," Sine said. "There will also be paid co-op opportunities."


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 1, 2013 E8

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