For the fifth time in the past six years, the Consumer's Choice Award winner in the Used Car Dealer category is Dan Gagnon and Gord Pedersen's Auto Gallery of Canada.
"This is an award based on customer surveys," says Pedersen. "And that makes it a difficult award to win. I tried the questionnaire myself this year. The survey is very professionally done. The questions aren't leading in any way."
The Consumer's Choice Award winners in each major city in Canada and the United States are chosen by the general public. The awards cover a wide range of categories of interest to the public and are intended to identify those businesses who consumers feel have reached a level of excellence.
Pedersen notes that the award is a vote of confidence from Auto Gallery's customers.
"We are the No. 1 pre-owned auto dealership in Winnipeg in terms of repeat business and referrals," he reports. "Two-thirds of our sales are to repeat customers or purchasers who have been referred to us by previous customers."
Pedersen gives all the credit for Auto Gallery's success to the dealership's long time staff members.
"Our staff works hard every day to make sure that our customers are happy with our service and their purchases," he says. "We have had very little turnover in staff.
Gagnon and Pedersen, Auto Gallery's founding partners, were both long-time auto sales reps when they joined forces in 2002 to open their own business. The company specializes in newer used models generally with some warranty left.
"We also offer our own extended full coverage warranty up to seven years," Pedersen says.
In celebration of Auto Gallery's 10th anniversary, Gagnon and Pedersen are inviting their customers -- and anyone else in the neighbourhood who wants to attend -- to a family weekend on June 1 and 2 featuring a barbecue and children's activities. Hot103 will also be hroadcasting from the 3777 Portage Ave. location for the two days. Auto Gallery also has a second location at 2445 Pembina Hwy.
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Also congratulations to Mid Town Ford for earning Ford of Canada's President's Award -- at the Diamond level this year - for the seventh time in the past nine years. The award measures excellence in customer satisfaction and sales.
Mid-Town Ford president Rob Fridfinnson notes that his dealership was the only Ford dealer in Winnipeg to have qualified for the President's Award for 2011.
Mid-Town Ford recently welcomed to the sales team industry veteran Kevin Ryan, recently returned from a stint out west. Ryan has been in the industry for the past 12 years, most of it with high-end model dealerships.
"I know Rob and Lance (Rob's brother and the general manager) very well," Ryan says. "And I like Ford's product line."
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Across the road at Murray Hyundai, Ted Debrowski is comfortably settling in as the newest addition to the sales team. Like Ryan, Debrowski is a veteran of 12 years in auto sales. He has been consistently a top sales leader in the Asian auto sales field.
"I chose to move to Murray Hyundai because of its location (which is a five-minute drive from his home), because of Hyundai's outstanding product line and because of the Murray group's outstanding reputation," he says.
Debrowski, who started at Murray Hyundai at the beginning of April, reports that he sold over 200 vehicles last year at his previous location and sold nine vehicles in his first two weeks at his new dealership.
"I expect to do as well here as I have been doing over the years," he says.
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Dale Sesuk is also off to a hot start at Bichwood Honda Centre on Regent. The 11-year auto sales veteran, who also joined his new dealership at the beginning of April, sold 10 cars in his first two weeks.
Sesuk had been working in management for the past few years, but says that he wanted to get back to sales. "Birchwood Honda Centre has a great sales team," he says. "And I am finding the atmosphere energizing."