Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Matthon christens Pointe West dealership

Venture is partnership with Birchwood Group

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MATTHON Motors Partners celebrated the grand opening of its dealership at the Pointe West Auto Mall Thursday, with greetings from Paul Cummings, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of Canada and Victor Bernardini, the president of Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover Canada. The industry leaders were among the estimated 160 guests attending the opening.

Matthon Motors Partners is a partnership between Matthon Motors, Manitoba's long time Volvo dealer, and the Birchwood Auto Group's Jaguar and Land Rover dealership. Both dealerships were located in smaller buildings on Pembina Highway.

The new 15,532 square-foot facility has separate but adjoining areas in its showroom for Volvo on the one hand and Jaguar and Land Rover products on the other. Management is hopeful that the new location in the Pointe West crown will significantly boost sales for all three products.

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A couple of Steinbach import dealers are quietly piling up the awards and both Harvest Honda general manager Doug Kreutzer and Eastern Nissan president Peter Loewen credit satisfied customers for their successes.

The Nissan President's Award for Merit, Loewen points out, is based on customer surveys. "Customers are asked to fill in questionnaires about overall service," he says. "Our customers are very happy."

Kreutzer notes that in awarding its Quality Award, Honda considers customer satisfaction in all areas of the dealership as well as total sales. Harvest Honda has now won Honda Canada's highest award seven years in a row -- more often than any other Honda dealership in Manitoba. The official presentation will be made in September.

The 20-year-old dealership, Kreutzer reports, sold about 500 new cars and over 300 used models last year. "Business is growing every year," he says, "and we are hoping for continued growth again this year."

He notes that the dealership underwent a major renovation two years ago that greatly increased the square footage in every area.

Harvest Honda also boasts two Honda Grand Masters. Kreutzer earned the designation in the management category for the second year in a row while salesman Hagen Kosolak has reached Honda's highest sales level five years in a row. The former photographer has been selling cars at Harvest Honda for 12 years. In addition to his emphasis on customer service and product knowledge, he credits the quality of Honda's products for his success. Last year, he says, he sold 330 vehicles and is on track to equal or better that figure this year.

Eastern Nissan's Peter Loewen accepted the Award of Merit on behalf of his staff on March 20 in Las Vegas at Nissan Canada's annual dealer meeting. This is the second year in a row that Loewen has come home with the trophy.

"There are different categories depending on sales volume," he notes. "In our segment, we are the only dealership in Manitoba that has ever won this award."

He reports that Eastern Nissan's sales have been growing at about 20 per cent a year over the last three years thanks in large part to a resurgence of interest in Nissan products. "A number of new products coming out this year should add to our sales," he says. "The new Murano has done well. We have the 350Z sportscar. The redesigned Quest van should be out in a couple of months. And Nissan's new full size pick-up, which should be out by the end of the year, will be competitive with Ford and Chevy products."

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Brian Biebrich is the new general manager of Jim Gauthier Mazda & RV Centre. Biebrich began his sales career with Gauthier Chev Olds in the early 1990s. Last year, he rejoined the Gauthier team, after spending five years with another GM dealer in the city, as new car sales manager at Jim Gauthier's new Pontiac Buick store.

"I like the way the Gauthier Group does business," Biebrich says. "This is a class operation."

He sees good growth potential at Jim Gauthier Mazda. "We are in the people business," he says. "I intend to try to make all our sales outstanding buying experiences for the customers."

PHOTO LINDA VERMETTE/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 6, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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