Mitsubishi Canada's new president, Kenichiro (Kenny) Yamamoto was full of praise for Winnipeg's two Mitsubishi dealers, both part of the Vickar Auto Group, during his first visit to Winnipeg on April 9.
"The Winnipeg dealers (Waverley Mitsubishi and Vickar Mitsubishi) are very good," he said. "I was very impressed with their facilities and, more importantly, their passion for our product."
Yamamoto also congratulated Waverley Mitsubishi on achieving the automaker's Triple Diamond Award for excellence in after-sale customer service for two consecutive years.
Waverley Mitsubishi president Rino Attardo and Vickar Mitsubishi general manager Daniel Micflikier were equally impressed with Yamamoto.
"He made a special trip and came to Winnipeg on his own in order to meet with us," Attardo said. "With great respect to previous Mitsubishi presidents, Kenny was the easiest to communicate with, share ideas and talk product and customers.
"Both Daniel Micflikier and I were impressed with his attention to detail. It's evident that he is a relentless worker who is always trying to improve the brand and the communication with us as dealers. He carefully listened and engaged with us for hours about the future of Mitsubishi Canada."
Yamamoto, in his early 40s, is the youngest Canadian Mitsubishi president to date, but has been with the brand for 20 years -- 15 of them at head office in Tokyo and the last five at the American head office in Dallas. He assumed his new position in December.
At a dealers' meeting in Vancouver before his Winnipeg stop, Yamamoto discussed changes to the existing product line, including the new 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid, which Attardo said should be the first and best-priced plug-in hybrid SUV on the market. He also outlined in detail new and improved support systems, such as after-sale customer service and dealer websites.
The new president's visit to Winnipeg coincided with Waverley Mitsubishi FC playing for the championship in Winnipeg's senior men's league. Yamamoto, it turns out, is a soccer fan and former player and was quite happy to attend the game and cheer on the Waverley team.
While Mitsubishi is still relatively new to Canada incompared to most other manufacturers, Yamamoto cited Mitsubishi Canada's year-after-year growth and its award-winning vehicle lineup, Attardo said.
"He reminded us that, amidst the gloom of competitor manufacturer recalls, that Mitsubishi quality shined through, backed by our 10-year warranty. Mitsubishi Canada's future is bright, led by a president with a 'do-what-it-takes' attitude and a desire to help Mitsubishi become a top-of-mind vehicle-purchase consideration."
Waverley Mitsubishi giving away 2014 Mirage
In mid-September, Waverley Mitsubishi will be giving away a 2014 Mirage to one of 5,000 entrants in a contest that requires no previous purchase.
Readers have only to go online (www.waverleymitsubishi.com) to enter. The contest runs until the end of August. The maximum number of entries will be 5,000.
Sales rep Rome Fajardo described the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage sun-compact, which arrived at dealerships in late September, as the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car in Canada. The base price for the new model is $12,748, plus freight and pdi.
Fajardo was Waverley Mitsubishi's Employee of the Year for 2013 and a perennial Mitsubishi Canada Master Sales Guild member, earning Silver status last year with 144 sales. He joined the Waverley Mitsubishi staff six years ago after dealership president Rino Attardo recruited him from a Staples store where Fajardo sold him a printer.
"I was very impressed with his level of service and invited him to join our team," Attardo said.
Robert Jordan Misa at Vickar Mitsubishi is the only other Mitsubishi Canada sales rep from this neck of the woods to have earned a ranking (also Silver) in the Master Sales Guild. In just his first full year in the industry, the Filipino immigrant sold about 200 vehicles.
Misa said he appreciates the opportunity that Vickar Mitsubishi gave him.
West Perimeter Auto Centre adds veteran sales reps
Harold Neudorf and his West Perimeter Auto Centre on West Portage near the Perimeter Highway have a news sales manager in the person of Bruce Broughton.
Broughton has been in auto sales for more than 20 years and his relationship with Neudorf goes back almost as long.
"Back when I worked for Charlie Saladin at St. James Volkswagen," Broughton recalled, "we used to off-load a lot of our used cars to Harold because we didn't have room for them."
Neudorf has been operating his used-car store at 3811 Portage for the past 17 years. The location used to be Jim Haddad's truck centre.
Neudorf has also recently added 10-year industry veteran Chris Wiesner to his sales team.
"I've worked with Bruce for many years and know him well -- and I have known Harold for a long time, too," said Wiesner, who joined West Perimeter at the beginning of April. "The public is shifting more to pre-owned models."