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Nissan dealership receives prestigious award

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Birchwood Infiniti Nissan staff members are celebrating after receiving Nissan Canada's Nissan Award of Excellence a couple of weeks ago for the dealership's sales performance in 2011.

Birchwood Infiniti Nissan general manager Craig Becker said his store was one of just 16 Nissan dealers across Canada (out of 177 dealerships) and just one of three in Western Canada to receive the prestigious award.

The award is based on sales volumes and customer-satisfaction ratings.

"This is the first time in five years or more that a Manitoba Nissan store has received the award," he said.

Birchwood Infiniti Nissan is also now selling Nissan Canada's NV commercial vans. The vans, which are also available at Crown Nissan and Vickar Nissan, have been available in Europe and the U.S. for about 18 months but were just introduced to Canadian buyers last year. The NV is Nissan's first entry into the commercial-vehicle market in North America.

The NV vans are available in either a standard low roof or with a raised roof in the cargo area that allows you to walk about upright inside. The van can also be configured into either a half-ton, three-quarter ton or one-ton model depending on the end user's needs.

Because the NV has an extended nose, the drive train is farther forward than in competing models, thereby providing ample legroom for both the driver and front-seat passenger. As well, because the walls in the cargo area are straight up and down, attached shelving can be installed without encroaching on the centre aisle.

There is also space for insulation and panelling, the wheel wells are reduced and the rear doors can be opened all the way to the sides of the van where they are held in place by magnets so the wind doesn't catch them.

The starting price for a new NV 1500 Series van with V6 engine is $32,700, with a top-of-the-line model costing about $40,000.

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In other Nissan news, Vickar Nissan has embarked on a 15,000-square-foot expansion of its Regent Avenue dealership.

"We are expanding our showroom, adding a six-car drive-thru and putting in seven more service bays (for a total of 17)," said Vickar Nissan president Stephen Vickar.

The highlight of the expansion program will be a new fast lube service, which Vikcar describes as the first of its kind in Western Canada.

"There will be no appointment necessary," he said.

"You can stay in your car while our service people do the oil change, an alignment and rotate your tires. You will be in and out in 15 minutes."

The $2.5-million project is scheduled to be finished by the end of November.

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Chris Sleva, Scott Pollitt and Shawn Henke continue to set the pace among Manitoba Ford of Canada sales reps.

Last year, Parkside Ford's Shawn Henke, a continual Ford Summit Award winner, finished fifth in total sales (174) in Western Canada. That was up from ninth in 20l0. Henke was in Edmonton on May 12-13 to receive the award.

Mid-Town Ford's Pollitt finished with 147 sales in 2011, good for second overall among Manitoba Ford sales reps and 10th overall in Western Canada.

Pollitt has been in the industry for over 30 years and has been selling mainly Ford products since 1992. He has been both a sales rep and worked in management over that time. He joined the Mid-Town sales staff in 2008.

"I have a lot of longtime clients," Pollitt said.

"You work hard and you get results. And Ford models are very popular right now."

In third place in Manitoba was Birchwood Keystone Ford's Sleva with sales of 109 vehicles. This is his fourth Summit Award.

Sleva said while sales started off slow for him this year, business has picked up. "I am on pace for matching last year's sales figures," said Sleva.

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ADESA Winnipeg celebrated its 25th anniversary sale on May 17 with free breakfast for all comers.

"We started with one lane and 15 employees," said Gregg Maidment, the auction house's vice-president and general manager for Western Canada. "Today, we have six lanes and over 200 employees. And as of this year, we have sold 840,000 vehicles."

Over the years, ADESA Winnipeg has also broadened its scope through its LiveBlock Internet technology to become an international player.

"ADESA has recently acquired an online auction technology called Openlane which, through integration with our LiveBlock technology, expands on our ability to provide service to buyers and sellers globally from Winnipeg," said Maidment.

Last year, ADESA Winnipeg introduced a public auction program through which the auction house on Highway 7 just north of Winnipeg auctions off vehicles for private individuals.

"We sat down and determined that 35 per cent of used vehicles are private sales," Maidment said. "We can offer private sellers a global market for their vehicles. We guarantee an offer within seven days.

"There are no risks. The seller can reject the offer if it's not to his liking. But around 60 per cent of the vehicles that we have sold over the past year for private owners have sold for more than the asking price."

For private vehicle owners, ADESA Winnipeg is about to automate the process using the new ADESA technology.

"We will be rolling this out nationally and internationally," said Maidment. "We are excited about this. Personal vehicle sales have never been done like this before."

As well, as part of ADESA's commitment to working with community and charitable organizations, ADESA Winnipeg is partnering with Variety-The Children's Charity of Manitoba in a new pilot project called Bids for Kids.

"Variety Manitoba's president recently introduced the concept at an international Variety meeting in Dublin where it received an enthusiastic response," said Maidment.

Under the program, donors will be encouraged to go online and donate their used vehicle, boats, snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles, said Maidment. ADESA will auction them off and give the funds to Variety which, in turn, will issue tax receipts to the donors.

"We are expecting that our ADESA affiliates worldwide will plug into this partnership program with Variety," said Maidment. "We are also going to be partnering with Juvenile Diabetes."

Maidment said ADESA Winnipeg's 25th annual Golden Gavel Golf Tournament is scheduled for June 11. "We raised $250,000 for Variety at our golf tournament last year," he said. "We hope to surpass that total this year."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 25, 2012 E2

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