Myron Love / Winnipeg Free Press
(From left) Capital Ford Lincoln service advisor Rejean Bremaud, commercial account manager Shaun Booth, general sales manager Michael Park and sales rep Eric Reece.
In the two years since the Capital Auto Group acquired the former Landau Ford Lincoln, the Winnipeg dealership in the Polo Park area has made great strides. Michael Park, Capital Ford Lincoln’s general sales manager, reports that last year, the dealership finished in fifth place among 22 Ford Lincoln stores operating in the Prairie provinces.
Even more impressively, Park reports that his store for the past two years has been ranked first among Lincoln dealers in Canada by DealerRater.com, Canada’s national dealer-rating website. The ratings are based on online customer reviews.
“With the change in ownership at Parkside Ford Lincoln (now Vickar Ford) at the beginning of the year, we are the only Lincoln dealer between Regina and Sault Ste. Marie,” Park says. “To better serve our customers, we have our own dedicated team of Lincoln specialists (consisting of product specialist Eric Reece, commercial account manager Shaun Booth and service advisor Rejean Bremaud).
“And last year, we refreshed our Lincoln lounge and business centre.”
The dealership also can provide loaner Lincolns for customers who bring in their models for servicing.
“Ford has a new focus for Lincoln,” Park says. “We are targeting progressive luxury clients. Our biggest demographic is young professional women.”
Dan Murray, Dean Cooley sons making mark in auto sales
Mitch Murray and Jordan Cooley both have had excellent role models to emulate as they embark on careers in auto sales. Cooley is the son of Dean Cooley, the president of Dean Cooley GM, which has been successfully serving the people of Dauphin and vicinity for more than 20 years. Mitch Murray is the son of Dan Murray, the president of Murray Chevrolet in Winnipeg, which has also been in operation for more than 20 years.
(Both Murray Chevrolet and Dean Cooley GM are part of the Murray Auto Group.)
The young men — they are both 24 — are currently part of the Murray Chev team.
The younger Murray — one of the fourth generation of Murrays in the auto industry — began selling cars at the family dealership in the summers while he was attending university. After graduation from Western Michigan University with a business degree, he went out west to sell vehicles for the Murray-affiliated GM store in White Rock, B.C. He returned to Murray Chevrolet here about a year ago (after a year in White Rock) to fill an open sales manager position.
“Because I grew up in this store, I was comfortable right away in my new role,” he says. “I am really enjoying auto sales. There is a great atmosphere at Murray Chevrolet. The days go by quickly.”
Cooley has a BA from the University of Manitoba. He began his post-university career in the auto industry as a service advisor, followed by a stint in Murray Chev’s business development office. From there, he moved to sales assistant. He has been working as a full-fledged sales rep since August. In December, he finished in the top three in sales for the month — quite a feat in a dealership with more than a few perennial sales stars.
Selkirk Ford dealer sledding for kids
Steeltown Ford and dealer principal Jason Sargent’s 12th annual “Ride for Scott,” which is scheduled for the last weekend in Feburary, is raising money this year for two worthy causes — the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation and, for the first time, the Huntington’s Society (HSC).
The annual fundraiser is dedicated to the memory of Jason Sargent’s late brother, Scott.
“Scott (who passed away in 2004) loved snowmobiling and children,” Sargent says.
“This year, my son Owen, his best friend Troy and a few family members and Steeltown Ford employees will be heading out for two days to raise money for causes that are near to my heart.”
The team will be heading out on two separate 500-kilometre snowmobile rides, the first departing from Selkirk on the Louis Riel long weekend at Hecla Island Provincial Park for the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation, and the other, the following weekend at Bird Lake to raise money for the Huntington’s Society.
“We added the Huntington’s ride,” Sargent says, “because a friend of ours in Selkirk has a family member who is suffering from the illness.
“Riders are responsible for all costs involved in the trip,” he adds.
He notes that the ride promotes a responsible and healthy sports image for snowmobilers while supporting the needs of Manitoba’s children with disabilities living in rural districts. The Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation is Manitoba’s main core service for more than 15,000 children with special needs and their families. The foundation assists children with special needs such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, autism, amputations, spina bifida, scoliosis, FASD, and communication, neurological, feeding and bone disorders, to name just a few.
Money raised from the ride is used to purchase customized equipment needed by these children so they can live with greater independence and ability. Some of the equipment purchased in the past includes lightweight wheelchairs, wheelchair cushions, communication devices, computers with custom access controls, customized bikes that enable children to get out of their wheelchairs and much, much more.
The Huntington’s Society has been serving communities in Canada for more than 34 years. Huntington’s disease (HD) is a hereditary brain disorder with devastating effects on both mind and body. HD touches one in every 1,000 Canadians and every child of a person with HD has a 50 per cent risk of inheriting the disease. There is still no cure for Huntington’s disease, and there are no treatments that can prevent HD or slow it down. However, the accelerating pace of research is offering more hope than ever before that a solution will be discovered one day soon.
“Over the years, we’ve raised almost $220,000 for Scott’s Memorial Fund, which supports children living with disabilities in the Birds Hill, Selkirk and surrounding areas,” Sargent says. “These generous donations have meant that we’re meeting the needs of every child from this area. I feel privileged that I can give back to my community and honour my brother at the same time. My goal this year is to raise over $20,000 and make this 12th annual event the most successful yet.”
To make a donation, you can visit steeltownford.com and click on the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation link. To support the Huntington’s Society, go to hscevents.ca/steeltown.
Donations can be made by cheque (to be dropped off or mailed to Steeltown Ford) or credit card.
Dealer of the week
Sales Rep: Rodney Neufeld
Dealership: Vickar Community Chevrolet.
No. of Years: Five months with Vickar, six years in auto sales.
Favourite Model: Chevrolet Malibu.
Why: “I love the Malibu’s new design,” Neufeld says.”The Malibu isn’t your typical sedan. You get a great ride and great mileage.”
Myron Love / Winnipeg Free Press
Murray Chevrolet president Dan Murray (left) with son and new sales manager Mitch Murray.