Winnipeg Free Press

Back in the driver's seat

by Myron Love  . Aug 25 2017
Myron Love / Winnipeg Free Press

Myron Love / Winnipeg Free Press

Gerald Boiteau never expected to be in command of a Volkswagen store again.

Five years ago, a change in ownership led him to try retirement after 27 years with Auto Haus Volkswage. Finding that not to his liking, he got back into auto sales in the role of a troubleshooter for smaller stores.

Then, three months ago, an opportunity opened up at St. James Volkswagen Audi Winnipeg. Mark Warsaba, who had been the dealer principal at the dealership at the 670 Century St. store since 2013, (shortly after Auto Canada acquired the family-run business from partners Russ Saladin, Rick Heatherington and Melanie Doell), was promoted to Auto Canada’s head office in Edmonton. Warsaba is now Auto Canada’s senior vice-president and chief operations officer.

Boiteau was invited to become the new dealer principal at St. James Volkswagen Audi Winnipeg.

“When Mark called to offer me this opportunity, I embraced it whole-heartedly,” Boiteau says. “I’m excited to be back with the brand I started with. The transition couldn’t have been smoother. I have been welcomed here with open arms.”

Boiteau notes he has had previous experience not only with the Volkswagen brand but also with Audi.

Boiteau credits Warsaba with building up a strong team at St. James Volkswagen Audi Winnipeg.

“And with Mark in his new role, I can reach out to him any time I have questions.

“But I will be putting some of my own twists to things. I am coming into the business with outside eyes — as my former boss and mentor, Ron Cancilla, used to say.”

Boiteau notes he has inherited the top-selling Audi store in Canada. And, with the new Audi store on Kenaston scheduled to be open for business early in the new year, he couldn’t have come in at a better time.

As for St. James Volkswagen, Boiteau reports the dealership has set sales records over the past two months. The plans are to expand the body shop at the current store after the Audi brand moves to its new location.

“With our new body shop, we will be able to provide better service to our Volkswagen and Audi customers,” he says. “We will have one of the most modern body shops in Winnipeg.”

2018 VW Tiguan larger, more refined

Gerald Boiteau and his staff are expecting big things from the 2018 Tiguan, which arrived at local Volkswagen dealerships a couple of weeks ago.

“The 2018 Tiguan is revolutionizing our SUV line-up,” Boiteau says.

St. James Volkswagen sales rep Jordan Smith notes the new Tiguan is 57 per cent larger than its predecessor and is more fuel efficient.

Smith reports the new compact crossover model is powered by a two-litre turbocharged, direct-injection TSI four-cylinder engine — connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission that puts out 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque.

The new model comes with a choice of three trims — the base-level Trendline, the mid-level Comfortline and the loaded Highline.

Standard equipment on all models, Smith notes, include third-row seating, driver-profile selection that automatically adjusts seats and mirrors and changes radio stations to suit individual drivers, Android Auto and Apple CarPLay, remote start, rearview camera and automatic post-collision braking system.

The Comfortline trim adds blind spot detection with rear traffic alert, pedestrian monitoring, panoramic power sunroof, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and leather coverings — to cite just a few additional features.

The Highline adds still more refinements.

The price range for the new Tiguan, Smith says, ranges from about $35,000 to $45,000 depending on trim level and packages. He reports St. James Volkswagen has a dozen in stock and more on the way.

eGolf electrifies

Also newly arrived at Volkswagen dealerships is the eGolf .

“I had an opportunity to drive a model from Winnipeg to Gimli and back,” Jordan Smith says of the new electric vehicle. “It’s a really cool car.”

The new model has a range of about 210 kilometres, he points out. It also has a really good power rating — generating 134 hp and 214 lb.-ft. of torque.

Smith notes when plugging in your eGolf overnight, you can pre-set it so that in the morning when you get into your car, it has been pre-warmed as well as fully charged and ready to go. Also available is a DC fast charging system which can charge the battery in just 20 minutes. And the eGolf is available in a choice of 30 different colours. The cost of the vehicle ranges from about $35,000 to $45,000.

Smith reports St. James Volkswagen has just one in stock — with three more on order.

Frank Chiapetta returns to Winnipeg Kia

After a brief hiatus, Frank Chiapetta has returned to Winnipeg Kia as general sales manager. “After being away for a while, I was enticed to come back,” he says. “We have a great group of people here and Chris Dyck is a great guy to work for. This is a great dealership.”

VolkswagenThe 2018 Tiguan is ‘revolutionizing’ St. James Volkswagen’s SUV lineup, according to dealer principal Gerald Boiteau (right).


The 2018 Tiguan is ‘revolutionizing’ St. James Volkswagen’s SUV lineup, according to dealer principal Gerald Boiteau (right).