Winnipeg Free Press

Here grows Murray Auto Group

by Myron Love  . Mar 09 2018
Myron Love / Winnipeg Free PressJared Lang is the new managing partner at the renamed Murray Chrysler in Winnipeg.

Myron Love / Winnipeg Free Press

Jared Lang is the new managing partner at the renamed Murray Chrysler in Winnipeg.

In what may rank as one of the Murray Auto Group’s largest deals, president of Winnipeg’s Murray Chevrolet and Murray Hyundai, Dan Murray, acquired the Pembcorp Auto Group on March 1. The addition of the former Pembina Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and sister Chrysler locations in Portage la Prairie, Morden and Carman brings the total number of new car dealerships under the Murray umbrella to 31.

“Bernie (Clement, retiring Pembcorp president) and I started talking about this in early January,” Murray says.

“We quickly came to a mutual agreement and worked to make this deal happen as fast as we could.”

Pembcorp’s flagship store, Pembina Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, has been in operation near the famed Confusion Corner (Pembina/Corydon/Osborne intersection) for nearly 50 years. The venerable dealership was started in 1970 by the late Ike Vickar, in partnership with his cousin, the late Harry Vickar. The Vickars were both longtime car dealers from Saskatchewan.

The Vickars sold Pembina Chrysler to Clement in 2006. The Winnipeg-born Clement had previously held a senior management position with Daimler Chrysler Canada. After acquiring Pembina Chrysler, Clement and Pembcorp added the former Thompson Chrysler in Portage La Prairie and the former Pembina Valley Chrysler in Morden, and opened the location in Carman, restoring the Chrysler brand to that community after a 10-year hiatus.

Pembina Chrysler has been known for having one of the top-selling parts departments among Canadian Chrysler stores. Murray also comments on the store’s strong fixed operations and its central location.

As for the Morden location, Murray notes this is the Murray Group’s first store in the Pembina Valley region.

Other Manitoba Murray stores include the flagship Murray Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC Brandon, Brandon Chrysler Dodge and Murray Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Craig Dunn Motor City in Portage la Prairie, Dean Cooley GM in Dauphin, McLaughlin GM in Neepawa and Virden Chrysler Dodge.

According to Murray, the four new Murray Group Chrysler stores have about 100 employees between them.

The only changes being made are to the names and top management. Jared Lang, formerly a sales manager at Murray Chevrolet in Winnipeg, is the new managing partner at the renamed Murray Chrysler in Winnipeg. The former Pembcorp store in Portage is now Craig Dunn Chrysler — under the leadership of Tyler Dunn (Craig Dunn’s son). The Morden and Carman stores have been renamed Murray Morden and Murray Carman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Chris Willsley, who has been managing the two stores most recently, will remain managing partner.

“Chris, Tyler and Jared are all young guys who have been working in auto sales for eight to 10 years,” Murray says. “All three have proven themselves to be high-quality individuals. With all of our four new stores, we are looking forward to growing sales while continuing to offer excellent customer service.”

Restaurant manager retires

Kenny Anurak has been a fixture at Murray Chevrolet since 1989, when the Brandon-based Murray Auto Group opened its first Winnipeg store in Oak Bluff. Two weeks ago, the chief cook and bottle washer at Mack’s Café, located upstairs at the Waverley Automall dealership, hung up his apron for the last time.

Anurak is returning to his native Laos to be with his second wife. (His first wife, Mack, after whom Mack’s Café is named, passed away.) The staff at the dealership held a Feb. 23 reception for him, complete with a huge cake and a number of presents to ensure he will remember his time in Canada.

Gifts included a bottle of maple syrup, Jets jersey, Bombers hat, flip flops, an Olympic jacket and a Hudson’s Bay bag.

While Kenny may have retired, Mack’s Café will continue in the Anurak family with his daughter, Katherine, taking over.

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Dealer of the week

Sales Rep: Dave Hallock

Dealership: Gerry Gordon Mazda

No. of Years: 12

Favourite Model: Mazda CX-5

Why: “The CX-5 is super quiet,” Hallock says. “It’s a performance-oriented vehicle. And I like the new, refreshed styling.”