Winnipeg Free Press

Fleet sales veteran passing on skills to younger professionals

by Myron Love  . Jul 26 2019

When it comes to fleet sales, Winnipeg’s Timm Slaney has been there and done that over the past 30 years.

Now, the newly appointed director of fleet operations at Auto Canada is being given the opportunity to mentor a new generation of fleet sales managers at Auto Canada stores across Canada.

“I am ecstatic about this new opportunity,” says Slaney, who has earned Gold membership status in General Motors’ prestigious Sales Guild in the fleet sales category for the past 18 years in a row. “This is something I have been advocating for some time. Fleet sales are so much different than regular retail auto sales. Younger guys who try fleet sales often don’t realize the importance of building strong relationships with upstream suppliers. They often quickly get frustrated and move on.”

Slaney credits Howard Tackaberry who, as truck merchandising manager for the Ford Motor Company’s head office in Winnipeg, showed the young Slaney the ropes when he was starting out in the auto business.

“I worked with Howard for two years,” Slaney says. “He took me around and introduced me to all of his contacts among both suppliers and end users. I want to do the same for other young people who may be interested in fleet sales.

“I see my new role as akin to a quarterback developing a team of fleet managers for Auto Canada and helping them get up to speed.”

That entails getting to know the suppliers for every part that goes into building a truck as well as the contacts for fleet purchasers across Canada.

“You have to be able to confidently take on every order no matter how large or small,” he says. “You have to know where to turn for all requirements. And you build on your contact base.”

Slaney is starting his new task at McNaught Cadllac Buick GMC.

“Once I get McNaught’s fleet management program up and running, I intend to use what I do here as the blueprint for Auto Canada’s other 59 stores. I want to train other guys so they can also realize the success I have achieved. I think it will be rewarding for this old cat to see younger guys also winning.”

New industry role for Cal Sobering

Veteran car guy Cal Sobering has also taken on a new role in the industry in recent months. As of April, the scion of the Sobering-Rewucki family has become the representative for Your Warranty Team for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and northwestern Ontario.

Created just under two years by Kerry Rioux of Calgary, Your Warranty Team is a spinoff of Rioux’s Carwise Consulting Inc. Your Warranty Team provides a wide range of warranty and other insurance products to auto dealers, RV and powersports retailers across the country. Among the areas Your Warranty Team covers are asset protection, damage from road hazards, theft and identity protection and disability and life insurance.

Over the past 20 years, Sobering has worked in management and as a sales trainer for a number of domestic and import stores in Winnipeg.

Last fall, Sobering suffered a mild heart attack. Although completely recovered, he recognized it was time to make some changes in his life.

“I was referred to Kerry Rioux and his management team by mutual friends,” he says. “I spoke to Kerry and found that we had a lot in common. We have similar values. I am happy to be part of the team.”

Sobering reports he has met with a positive response from dealers in the region. He notes he is also prepared to suggest to dealers where he may see potential for improvement in their operations.

Thus far, he reports, he has developed customers in Winnipeg, Brandon, Virden and Portage, as well as a couple of Saskatchewan stores.

Sobering can be reached at 204-782-4072 or

VIckar Auto Group supports Folklorama

The Vickar Auto Group has long been an enthusiastic supporter of Folklorama, and this year is no different. Once again, the Vickar Group is underwriting multi-pack discounts of $54 (plus service fee) — good for 12 admissions.

The Vickar Auto Group multi-packs can only be purchased online and your selections must be redeemed online before visiting the pavilion.

The Vickar team will also be out in force at the kickoff for Folklorama on July 27 at Assiniboine Park near the Lyric Theatre from 4 to 10 p.m.

Folklorama opens on Aug. 4 and runs until Aug. 17.