Winnipeg Free Press

Birchwood Group expands new car sales footprint

by Myron Love  . Jan 12 2018
SuppliedBirchwood Automotive Group has acquired a majority interest in Virden Ford, along with Roblin Ford and Carlyle Motor Products in Carlyle, Sask.


Birchwood Automotive Group has acquired a majority interest in Virden Ford, along with Roblin Ford and Carlyle Motor Products in Carlyle, Sask.

Hot on the heels of its acquisition of Steinbach Dodge Chrysler on Dec. 1, Birchwood Automotive Group has struck another deal to increase its footprint beyond Winnipeg.

Birchwood president Steve Chipman reports that on Jan. 1, Winnipeg’s largest auto group signed a deal with Garnet Goud, president of Saskatchewan-based Sundance Holdings, to acquire a majority ownership in three of Goud’s six new-car dealerships.

The new Birchwood stores are Virden Ford and Roblin Ford in Manitoba and Carlyle Motor Products (Goud’s flagship store) in Carlyle, Sask. The acquisition brings the total number of brands under the Birchwood banner in Manitoba to 19 (at 17 locations) and continues a Birchwood Auto Group effort to grow the business outside of Winnipeg. In the past couple of years, the Birchwood Group has also acquired the Nissan store in Brandon and the General Motors store in Cavalier, N.D.

As reported in a May 2011 article in the Carlyle Observer, Garnet Goud got his start in auto sales as a sales rep for McMillan Motors in Kipling, Sask. At age 23, Goud was offered the opportunity to become a partner in South Park Ford Mercury in Carlyle.

Three years later, in 1986, Goud’s partner bought him out. Glen McMillan then offered to partner with Goud in purchasing Moose Mountain Pontiac Buick — which was also in Carlyle. The partners renamed the dealership Carlyle Motor Products.

Over the years. Goud acquired Merit Motors in Carlyle, as well as Ford stores in Esterhazy, Sask., Virden and Roblin and a Dodge-Chysler store in Indian Head, Sask.

Steve Chipman notes he and his management team are not planning any changes at their new stores. Darin Banga and Keith Fast will remain in charge of the Virden and Roblin stores, respectively, with Ryan Vogel continuing to lead the sales team at Carlyle Motor Products. Fast and Banga both say they are excited to be part of the Birchwood family of dealerships and are looking forward to working with the Birchwood Group for many years to come.

Virden Ford (which Goud acquired from the Nield family in 2007) has a staff of about 25, Merit Ford a staff of 20 and Roblin Ford a staff of about 15.

The three dealerships have been mainstays in their communities for decades.

All three new stores, Chipman notes, are strong community-minded businesses.

“We like the opportunities that we see in rural Manitoba and elsewhere on the Prairies,” Chipman says.

“We are planning to continue to invest in communities in the Prairie provinces.”