Winnipeg Free Press

Local sales rep still king of the castle

by Myron Love  . Jun 16 2017
Myron Love / winnipeg free pressDan Murray (left) presents sales star John Puchniak with the Revere Cup.

Myron Love / winnipeg free press

Dan Murray (left) presents sales star John Puchniak with the Revere Cup.

For the third year in a row, Murray Chevrolet sales star John Puchniak has claimed the Murray Auto Group’s coveted Revere Cup (the auto group’s equivalent of the Stanley Cup) as the top-selling sales rep in the auto group, which operates 25 new car dealerships across Canada. The trophy, which was presented yet again to Puchniak at Murray Chevrolet’s annual employee appreciation and awards luncheon (for both Murray Chev and Murray Hyundai staff) last week, will be on display throughout the year.


Other Murray Chevrolet and Murray Hyundai sales reps among the top 20 sales reps in the overall Murray Auto Group for 2016 include Jamie Erb (who finished in fifth), Mike Richardson (eighth), Tony Dang (13th) and Cody Wiebe (20th).

Puchniak, Erb, Richardson and Wiebe all earned gold rankings in the General Motors Sales Master Guild. Timm Slaney, Murray Chev’s fleet sales manager, earned the same rank in GM’s Fleet Managers Club — for the 15th time. Murray Chev sales reps Daniel Bean, Teddy Edwards, Liam Li and Craig Pucely earned silver rankings in the guild, while Dennis Holmes, Keith Place, Tanner Franklin and Ray Reimer earned bronze rankings.

“Less than 40 per cent of GM’s more than 3,000 sales reps earn rankings in the Master Sales Guild each year,” Dan Murray noted. “And just two per cent qualify for gold ranking.”

He added that fewer than 40 per cent of the 4,700 GM service technicians across Canada earn GM’s Senior Master Technician designation each year. Murray Chevrolet had 14 technicians qualify for 2016 — far surpassing any other GM dealer in Canada.

“When it comes to national recognition, no other business in Canada — in or out of the auto business — has earned as many accolades over the years,” Murray said. “As a group, the Murray Auto Group has been designated several times as one of Canada’s 100 best employers and one of the country’s 50 best managed companies.

“The Murray Auto Group has built a reputation for outstanding service. Our (customer satisfaction index) scores are among the best in the country. No one does sales and service as well as we do.”

ADESA’s Maidment celebrates 30th anniversary in Winnipeg


ADESA Auctions Winnipeg’s Gregg Maidment has come a long way in 30 years.

“When Mike Lawrence (one of the founders of ADESA’s predecessor, the Canadian Auction Group) approached me in 1987 about working for him in Winnipeg, he suggested that I would only be in Winnipeg for a couple of weeks,” Maidment told car guys and guests who were at the auction house on Highway 7 for its 30th anniversary sale on last week.

Maidment never left. Today, ADESA’s Canadian operations senior vice-president (ADESA was born in 1999) continues to head the Winnipeg operation — a 24-7 business which employs more than 300 staff and ships product to more than 110 countries worldwide.

“Our sales continue to grow every year,” Maidment said. “Last year, we began expanding into Europe.”

ADESA now operates more than 300 auction sites and employs more than 18,000 people worldwide, he added.

Another area of growth for ADESA Winnipeg has been in private vehicle sales. Six years ago, ADESA Winnipeg introduced a program through which the company auctions off vehicles for private individuals.

“We can offer private sellers a global market for their vehicles,” Maidment says. “We guarantee an offer within seven days. There are no risks. The seller can reject the offer if it is not to their liking. A lot of the vehicles that we have sold over the past year for private owners have sold for more than the asking price.

“No one else offers this service. Professional people, retirees who are downsizing and businesses who may want to sell their vehicles privately don’t necessarily want to have strangers coming to their doors.”

Another area where ADESA’s presence continues to grow is in charity work. Maidment reported that, last year, ADESA conducted more than 50 charity auctions — for organizations such as Variety, the Children’s Charity of Manitoba, the Dream Factory and Ronald MacDonald House — raising more than $11.3 million.

“So far, this year, we have done 23 charity auctions and raised over $3.1 million,” Maidment said.

The one charity that has been constant over the years has been Variety. Maidment and crew were introduced to Variety by Deb McClellan, one of ADESA’s vehicle remarking specialists and one of Maidment’s original hires after coming to Winnipeg. This year, ADESA has raised $532,000 for Variety — most of it from Variety’s annual Under the Big Top Gold Heart Gala last month. This year’s Drive “Fore” the Kids Golf Classic & Charity Auction is scheduled for Aug. 22 at Larters at St. Andrews Golf and Country Club.

MMDA hosts second annual Night at the Races


More than 300 Manitoba Motor Dealers Association members and associates turned out last week at Assiniboia Downs for the MMDA’s second annual Night at the Races evening and fifth annual industry celebration and social. Other venues have included Investor’s Group Field, the Canadian Museum For Human Rights and the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre.

Among the evening’s highlights was the presentation to Jim Gauthier (in absentia) of the 2017 Industry Achievement Award. As MC Bruce Giesbrecht (Giesbrecht & Sons in Gimli) noted, Gauthier has been a major figure in the auto business in Winnipeg for many years. He began his career in auto sales work at Russell Motors. In 1959, Gauthier and his father, Woodie Gauthier, opened Kustom Auto Sales in Transcona.

In 1967, Gauthier went to work for Transcona AMC, rising to the role of general manager. In 1972, he bought Pan-Am Motors, selling it in 1977 while acquiring Transcona Dodge which he owned until 1980 — when he opened Jim Gauthier Chevrolet, which quickly become one of the largest volume GM dealerships in Winnipeg.

In 1990, he moved the dealership to its current location at 1400 McPhillips St. The Gauthier family of dealerships has since grown to include Gauthier Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC (2001) and Jim Gauthier’s Waverley Chrysler Dodge Jeep (2005).

Gauthier has been a MacLean’s Dealer of Excellence Award winner, a former chair and strong supporter of the MMDA and an individual well known for his philanthropic activity.

Also receiving special recognition during the evening were Brian Lowes, the president of Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg and Focus Hyundai, who has ended his term as MMDA president, and Steve Chipman, the president of the Birchwood Auto Group, who has completed his term as past-president of the Canadian Auto Dealers Association and has stepped down from the board.

Funds raised from the industry celebration go toward MMDA expenses and training and apprenticeship programs.



Dealer of the week

Sales Rep: Shawn Trudeau

Dealership: Steeltown Ford

No. of Years: 20

Favourite Model: The F150

Why: “The F150 is always the answer,” Trudeau says. “You have so many engine options and cab configurations to choose from. And it is suitable for all weather conditions. The newest model is also more fuel-efficient.”