Despite blustery wintry weather, close to 200 invited guests came out on last Thursday for the official introduction of the 2013 Lexus ES and LS models. And it turned out to be quite a party, with music, wine and hors d'oeuvres and a lot of buzz about the stars of the evening.
The LS was the more recent addition, arriving at Woodhaven Lexus Toyota's Lexus showroom on Nov. 13. While not a complete redesign, there are about 3,000 changes to the model for 2013, said Lexus sales specialist Ross Enokson.
One of the new features is that all of the exterior lights are LEDs, which use 70-per-cent less power. Also of note is the optional shimamoku Espresso steering wheel and matching trim. Enokson noted that shimamoku wood is only available in Japan, and it takes Japanese craftsmen 38 days to produce each steering wheel.
Some standard luxury features include Smart Access with push button start/stop, dual-zone automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, tilt and slide moonroof and the navigation system with high-resolution 12.3-inch screen, multimedia display, integrated back-up camera and Bluetooth capability.
The model is available in LS 460, LS 460L and LS 600hL trims. The 460 trims are powered by 4.6L V8 engines producing 386 hp and 367 lb.-ft. of torque for the 460 RWD models and 360 hp and 347 lb.-ft. of torque in the 460 AWD and 460L models. The 600hL has a 5L V8 engine and produces 438 hp.
The base price for an LS 460 model with AWD is $86,150, plus freight and pdi.
The 2013 ES model is a total redesign, built in Japan on a completely different platform from its predecessor. It has a longer wheelbase, provides a smoother ride and runs on regular gas as compared to the premium recommended for older models.
The new ES comes in two trims. The 350 version has a 3.5L V6 engine producing 268 hp., while the 300h is powered by a 2.5L Atkinson-cycle in-line 4-cylinder engine putting out 200 hp.
The base price for the 2013 ES is $39,500, plus freight and pdi.
Winnipeg Hyundai dealers help Shriners raise money for sick children
Last Friday, Focus Hyundai president John Carey drew the winner's name in a raffle for a 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid on behalf of the Shriners.
The model was donated to the Shriners by Winnipeg's four Hyundai dealers (Focus, Birchwood Hyundai, Murray Hyundai and Winnipeg Hyundai. The raffle raised $40,000, which will go toward construction of a new Shriners' Children's Hospital in Montreal.
The Shriners raise money to treat children suffering from burns and relatively rare conditions such as for cleft palates, Brittle Bone disease, Scoliosis and Spina Bifida. "This year, we will be helping our one millionth child," noted Potentate Harry Rosenbaum.
Carey suggested that the Hyundai dealers would like to make the raffle an annual event.
Porsche Centre Winnipeg set to open in mid-January
Auto Haus Volkswagen/Porsche management and staff can see the light at the end of tunnel.
"We have been told that, if all goes well, the expansion of our Volkswagen store and the construction of our new Porsche Centre Winnipeg should be completed by January 15," said Gerald Boiteau, the Porsche store's general manager.
The Porsche and Volkswagen stores had been sharing the same building on Pembina Highway near Grant. Porsche is getting its own stand-alone building in what used to be the dealership's stand alone on-site body shop.
"Porsche Centre of Winnipeg will be a boutique store," Boiteau said. "It will be the finest boutique dealership in Western Canada."
The new store will have a six-car showroom with the finest furnishings and a full service and parts department. One prominent feature, Boiteau noted, will be a "fitting lounge" where customers can custom order their Porsches.
"We've been without a showroom or display area for our Porsche and Volkswagen models for more than three months," he said. "Our team has been equal to the challenge. We have continued to hit our sales targets. I'm proud of our people. They have been incredible despite the disruption."
Boiteau himself got a break recently when Porsche flew him and a number of other Porsche dealership managers to Germany to test-drive the 2013 models.
"I drove the 2012 911 from Stuttgart to Leipsic on the Autobahn at a speed that most of us can only dream about," he says. "At Leipsic, we got to drive all the 2013 models -- the 911, the Cayenne, the Panamera and the Boxster. I enjoyed driving every one of them. The Cayenne handles much like a sports car."
New Sales Staff at Birchwood Honda on Regent
Ryan Schade used to be an insurance broker looking for a change. Allan Chand was a medical microbiologist who found himself out of a job because of federal government cutbacks.
Today, both men are selling Honda products at Birchwood Honda on Regent. "Jobs in my field are scarce,' Chand said, "so I thought I'd branch out and try something new."
Chand went through Birchwood's three-week sales training course in July and came onto the Birchwood Honda on Regent sales floor in August. "Birchwood Honda on Regent has a great sales team and great staff," he said. "I'm enjoying meeting new people every day."
Schade also started at the dealership in August. "I love cars, and Honda's product line speaks for itself," he said.