Winnipeg Free Press

Jim Gauthier Autoplex a dream come true

by Myron Love  . Feb 08 2019
Supplied The Jim Gauthier Autoplex’s state-of-the-art facility boasts 50,000 square feet of high-tech auto collision-repair services featuring Italian-made paint booths and a laser-equipped frame machine.

Supplied

The Jim Gauthier Autoplex’s state-of-the-art facility boasts 50,000 square feet of high-tech auto collision-repair services featuring Italian-made paint booths and a laser-equipped frame machine.

The new 50,000-square-foot Jim Gauthier Autoplex, Manitoba’s largest collision centre, opened for business at the end of October.

“Jim Gauthier and his brother, Jason, got their start in the auto business with their father, Woody, in the auto-body business,” says Jason Cross, Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC’s vice-president and managing partner. “They know the body-shop business. Jim wanted to build Manitoba’s largest state-of-the-art collision centre, and with our new Autoplex, he has done it. And Jason (Gauthier) played a key role in the design and development.”

The Autoplex is located on 10 acres in northwest Winnipeg behind Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC (and the Gauthier-owned Lady Joyce apartment complex) on north McPhillips and next to Walmart.

“We are very excited about the Autoplex,” Cross says.

Among the highlights of the new facility are a laser-equipped frame machine that can measure the specifications for each vehicle on the hoist, so work is done to the manufacturer’s exact specifications. The machine is 30 feet long, and can hoist trucks as well as cars.

“We sell a lot of trucks,” Cross says.

As well, the Gauthier team imported its Spanesi paint booths directly from Italy.

“We have the only Spanesi paint booths in Canada,” Cross says. “They are among the best in the industry. We brought in Spanesi staff to oversee the paint booths’ installation.”

Then, there is the Autoplex’s GreenTech robotic paint-drying system — of which there are only six in Canada. The system uses infrared heat to produce a higher-quality finish.

“We have the ability to match the paint for any model, up to the most luxurious brands, as close to the manufacturer’s colour as possible,” Cross says. “At our new Autoplex, we can accommodate all makes and models.”

The Jim Gauthier Autoplex is among a growing number of auto-body shops authorized by Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) to provide vehicle damage estimates. If you are involved in an accident and your vehicle is still drivable, you can go immediately to the Autoplex for an estimate instead of having to go first to an MPI location for the initial estimate, Cross says.

“We can write up the estimate on-site, order the parts and get the work done more promptly, so that you have your vehicle back sooner,” Cross says. “And you can just walk over to our Budget Rent-A-Car desk and rent a vehicle while our technicians are working on yours.”

The Autoplex also houses a reconditioning and pre-delivery inspection area —serving Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC and Jim Gauthier Chevrolet, which is also on McPhllips — a photo booth which can take photos of in-stock vehicles inside and out and from all angles and new headquarters for the Gauthier-owned Budget Rent-A-Car operation.

“Our Autoplex is already doing a booming business,” Cross says.

Jim Pattison Collision Centre

The new Jim Pattison Collision Centre opened for business Jan. 28 at 1687 Dugald Rd. The new collision centre — which replaces the Pattison Auto Group’s former Frontier Autobody shop in St. Norbert — is located in the former Buffalo Industries building.

“We have had really positive feedback about our new (body-shop) location,” Jim Pattison Auto Group president Bill Harbottle says. “Unlike our former location, our new facility is just a few blocks away from our Toyota store and our Jim Pattison Subaru store. The move will save time and allow our customers to meet face to face with our body shop staff.”

The new Jim Pattison Collision Centre has nine auto-body repair bays, new estimating bays (as with the Gauthier Autoplex, the Pattison Group collision centre will soon also be authorized by MPI to provide direct estimates) and new refinishing and preparatory areas.

“We are looking to add more staff, too,” Harbottle says.

Frontier Toyota celebrates2019 RAV4

About 200 guests turned up at Frontier Toyota on Regent on Jan. 22 to meet the 2019 RAV4.

“We received a lot of positive feedback from our guests concerning the new RAV4,” general sales manager Shannon Vezey says.

Longtime product adviser Shayna Kemel notes that the 2019 model has more horsepower, better fuel economy, Apple Carplay and Entune Audio, plus Entune Safety Connect — including stolen-vehicle locator, emergency-assistance (SOS) button, enhanced roadside assistance and automatic collision notification.

Vezey notes that each of the RAV4’s four trims — the Limited, Trail, LE and XLE — were on display in the showroom for the evening. She reports that hybrid models of the RAV4 are expected to be in showrooms in the spring.

For Frontier Toyota, this recent gathering was, in a sense, the last hurrah. A new, larger Toyota store — to be called Jim Pattison Toyota on Regent — is being constructed just a few feet away from the current store. When the new store opens for business in late August or early September, Frontier Toyota will be demolished.

Crown Honda expands service area

Crown Honda has added four new bays to its service area — bringing the total number of service bays to 11.

The new bays were installed in an area that used to be the storage warehouse for the dealership’s powersports equipment, which it no longer stocks. The 10-month project was completed and ready for operation Nov. 1.

Dhillon Auto Group launchesfundraising campaign

As of Feb. 1, Dhillon Auto Group, 715 Pembina Highway, will be donating $100 from every car sold over the next year toward helping a five-year-old named Matthew realize his dream of visiting Disney World. Matthew is currently being treated for leukemia.

The campaign — Driving for A Dream — is in collaboration with The Dream Factory, a Manitoba-based charity dedicated to fulfilling dreams for kids who are battling life-threatening illnesses. The Dhillon Group is aiming to raise $10,000 to help send Matthew and his family to Disney World.

myjolove1@gmail.com