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Great month for Birchwood

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Birchwood Auto Group beat its ambitious December sales target by a whopping 25 per cent.

It's the fifth year in a row that Birchwood has challenged its sales team to set a record for December sales. This year's target was 800 vehicles, up from December, 2011's target of 700.

The final tally: 1,064 vehicles sold.

Birchwood Group CEO Steve Chipman said he's proud of his staff's performance, noting that the addition of Birchwood Keystone Ford on Regent and Birchwood Credit Solutions in the north end helped smash the December record.

Birchwood also operates GM and GM truck stores, two Honda dealerships, two Kia stores, Birchwood Hyundai, Birchwood Infiniti Nissan, Birchwood BMW/Mini, Jaguar/Land Rover/Volvo Winnipeg and Woodhaven Lexus Toyota..

Birchwood Credit Solutions is a used-car operation that the group opened last summer. Early in the year, Birchwood acquired Keystone Ford (which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary later this year) from the Kozminsky family.

Birchwood Keystone Ford also figures in some group management changes in the new year.

Graham Cox has moved to the Ford store as new car sales manager. Cox has been part of the Birchwood team for more than 20 years and has served in a variety of management roles.

Mike Krebs has moved from the Ford store to Birchwood Infiniti Nissan as sales manager. The six-year Birchwood sales rep is happy to be closer to home and working with the luxury Infiniti brand. While he's now based in the new Infiniti store at the Pointe West Auto Park, he'll also be helping out on the Nissan side, which shares a common wall with the new store.

Cox, who was most recently general manager at Birchwood's Jaguar/Land Rover/Volvo store at the Auto Park, has been replaced there by Matt Sarmatiuk, formerly sales manager at the Infiniti Nissan store.

"It's nice to be back and become reacquainted with all our customers," said Sarmatiuk, who worked for five years at the luxury European import store before moving to the Nissan Infiniti dealership two years ago.

"We're expecting a really good year here."

Sarmatiuk is also happy to be reunited with Brent Buffie and Candice Scott, both returning to the Jaguar/Land Rover/Volvo store -- Buffie as used car manager and Scott as finance manager -- after spending some time at other Birchwood stores.

Industry veteran Howell joins Gauthier Cadillac staff

Ed Howell, a veteran of 36 years in auto sales, has joined the sales team at Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC.

Howell began his career at Gladstone Nissan but spent most sales career at Park Pontiac Buick, which closed its doors as a GM dealer in 2009. After trying a couple of other dealerships, Howell came to Gauthier Cadillac in mid-November.

"I had worked with (Gauthier Cadillac vice-president) Jason Cross previously," Howell said. "I'm happy to be back selling GM products."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2013 E6

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