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Winnipeg's Prairie Fiat rules the flatlands

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Prairie Fiat, Winnipeg's first and only Fiat store, is the Prairie provinces' top-selling Fiat dealer, reports Yiriy Kovalchuk, Pembina Highway dealership's sales manager.

"People love the great Italian style," he says.

Kovalchuk and his staff are very excited about Fiat's new Abarth versions of the 500 model. Fiat built just about 3,000 2012 Abarths and they sold out very quickly.

"All the models that we were allocated came in late April and early May and were pre-sold," Kovalchuk says.

The 2012 Abarth 500 model is powered by a 1.4-litre, 16-valve turbocharged engine that puts out 160 hp.

"The Abarth is small, but wicked," Kovalchuk says.

The model has a dual chrome-tipped exhaust, rear spoiler, side skirts and rear fascia diffuser.

The starting price for the model is $23,995 (plus freight), Kovalchuk says.

The 2013 models, he notes, should start arriving in October. The price will be about the same. The major new feature about the 2013 Abarth will be its sound system -- which Fiat developed in collaboration wÆth Beats Audio. The system exploits an advanced equalizer algorithm, creating a high definition and clean sound that the Beats founders (the artist and record producer Dr. Dre, and Jimmy Iovine, the Interscope-Geffen-A&M Records chairman and record producer) build for their recording studios.

Kovalchuk reports that the first electric models will be coming out early next year.

Gerry Gordon's plans

Gerry Gordon has sold his longtime Mazda location and is looking forward to beginning construction of his new, larger store at the Waverley Auto Mall.

Gordon, who was recognized a couple of weeks ago by Mazda Canada for his 35 years as a Mazda dealer, has been selling Mazda models out of his Pembina Highway location since he opened the dealership.

"We bought the property at the Waverley Auto Mall (next door to Winnipeg Suzuki) three years ago," Gordon says. "We have 14 months to finish our new building before we have to be out of our current location."

Gordon is still waiting for Mazda Canada's approval of his construction plan. The plan also has to clear city hall.

"It would be nice if we could get the foundation in before winter," he says.

Gordon's son, Rod, is also part of the family business. Rod Gordon is the used car sales manager and is also responsible for the dealership's Internet operations.

New Vickar sales reps

Over at Vickar Community Chev on Regent, sales rep Devin Cuscito was appointed to sales manager at the beginning of April. Come September, Cuscito will be celebrating his eighth year at Vickar.

Brand new to the sales staff are sales veterans Cliff Brown and Noel Meilleur, who both came on board in mid-July. Brown is a longtime General Motors sales rep who came to Vickar because, he says, it is a busier store than where he was before.

Meilleur has sold GMs, Mazdas and Hondas for different dealers on Regent over the past five years.

"Vickar Community Chev has a strong reputation for customer service and a history of success," he says.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 3, 2012 E2

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