Winnipeg Free Press

Autoplex a reflection of northwest growth

by Myron Love  . Nov 10 2017


The new Jim Gauthier Autoplex — now under construction in north Winnipeg — is a testament to the tremendous growth in business at Jim Gauthier Chevrolet and Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC, and also Jim and Randy Gauthier’s faith and dramatic growth in the city’s northwest.

Both Jim and Randy are excited to see the Chief Peguis Trail extension and resulting residential and commercial developments ramping up. The first of several thousand new homes and apartments are already taking shape just north of Templeton Avenue and east of McPhillips Street. Several new big-box stores are said to be in the planning stages for the area as well.

The 50,000-square-foot Autoplex, which would be one of the largest body repair and reconditioning centres in the city, and represents a substantial investment in the north end, is being built on about 10 acres of land across from the Walmart store and behind Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC on McPhillips Street. The building was designed by prestigious local architect Ray Wan, whose credits include many prominent buildings in the city.

“We are really squeezed for space,” Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC vice-president Jason Cross said. “The new building will give us a lot more room to store our ever-expanding inventory.”

He noted that the Autoplex collision centre will have all new state-of-the-art equipment and will be operated in a modular pattern to ensure the most efficient workplace flow.

The building will also house the two GM stores’ corporate offices, pre-delivery inspection operations and Budget Rent-A-Car’s headquarters.

“We will also be able to provide estimates on behalf of MPI,” Cross said. The new Autoplex is expected to open by next June or July.

New 2018 Honda Accord

The ever-popular Honda Accord has a new look for 2018.

“The 2018 Accord has a new body design and new engine options,” Crown Honda sales representative Carol Enano said of the new model, which put in its first appearance at local Honda dealer showrooms in late October. “It’s totally different.”

The new Accord — which is available now only as a sedan, is powered by a choice of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines — a 1.5-litre that puts out 192 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque or a 2L version that produces 252 hp and 273 lb-ft.

Accord is available in a choice of five trims — the base LX, EX, Sport, EX-L and the Touring model. The LX comes with standard rearview camera, LED low-beam headlights, cloth upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, a seven-inch screen, and a USB port.

The EX trim adds a moonroof, remote start, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a larger eight-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, an eight-speaker audio system, and keyless entry/start.

Sport models also include 19-inch alloy wheels, unique exhaust, aluminum pedals, a rear spoiler, LED fog lights, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The EX-L also gives you power-operated passenger seat, a 10-speaker audio system, memory function for the driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped shift knob, leather upholstery, and an optional navigation system.

With the top of the line Touring, you get 19-inch alloy wheels, a heads-up display, adaptive dampers, full LED headlights, ventilated and heated front seats, wireless charging, heated rear seats, and parking sensors.

Standard on all models is the Honda Sensing active safety suite that includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control. A driver-attention monitor, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert are options for the higher trim levels.

Enano reports that thus far, only one 2018 Honda Accord is on the ground at Crown Honda. “We are expecting several more by the end of the year,” she says.

Pricing for the 2018 Honda Accord starts at just under $30,000.

Frontier Toyota donates funds to battle breast cancer

Frontier Toyota has always been a leader in bringing women into the auto industry. From the sales floor through the finance and service departments, there are many women in integral roles. Two weekends ago, the Regent Avenue auto dealer made a point of highlighting that fact.

And for every vehicle sold at the dealership over that time period, Frontier Toyota donated a percentage to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

The culture of inclusion began with Frontier Toyota founder Marcel Thompson (who passed away in 2012).

“Marcel always believed in promoting women in the business,” general sales manager Shannon Vezey said.

Vezey herself was one of Thompson’s protégés. She recalled starting working at the store in 1994, fresh out of university, as a receptionist. Thompson obviously saw potential in the new receptionist. Within two weeks, he had promoted her to the business office.

Over 10 years with Frontier Toyota, Vezey moved up into management. After taking maternity leave, she worked in management at a couple of other auto dealerships, finally returning to Frontier Toyota in 2015 after a second maternity leave.

“It’s good to have a mix of men and women throughout our dealership,” she said. “Some women who come in are just more comfortable with other women. We have women in every department with many years of experience who can help.”

Corrections to last week’s column: It has been pointed out there was a couple of errors concerning Kia’s new Stinger. Only one engine is currently available and that is the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V-6 that puts out 365 horsepower and 376 foot-pounds of torque. As well, pricing has not yet been finalized, but is expected to be less than $45,000 for the GT trim and less than $50,000 for the GT Limited.