Winnipeg Free Press

Birchwood Lexus putting down roots on Kenaston

by Myron Love  . Aug 09 2019
Supplied The new Birchwood Lexus on Kenaston will be completed in spring of 2020.

Supplied

The new Birchwood Lexus on Kenaston will be completed in spring of 2020.

Birchwood Lexus is the latest luxury import dealer to be putting down roots on Kenaston Boulevard. The piles are already in the ground and, Birchwood Auto Group director of facility management Rene Nicholson reports, work on erecting the steel frame will begin shortly.

While the official address for the new structure will be 200 Lowson Cres., the building — which will be a couple of blocks from Audi Winnipeg and Porsche Centre Winnipeg to the north and Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg to the south — will actually face Kenaston.

Birchwood Lexus currently shares a building with Birchwood Toyota at the Pointe West AutoPark in Headingley. The new stand-alone, two-storey, 41,000-square-foot Lexus store will sit on 3.5 acres — with room for as many as 250 vehicles on-site.

The new facility will have a 12-car showroom, 11 service bays and four detail bays.

“Every customer who comes in for service will also have their car washed,” Nicholson says.

He says there will also be a very large service drive-thru, able to accommodate as many as 12 vehicles at a time. In inclement weather, customers will be able to pick up their vehicles inside.

Nicholson says there will be in-floor heating and smart LED lighting throughout the building.

“With our smart control system, no one will ever be in the position of forgetting to turn out the lights,” he says. “When no one is in a room, the lights remain on low. As soon as anyone enters, the lights go up instantly.”

The new Birchwood Lexus store is scheduled to be open for business next spring.

Changes at Winnipeg Chrysler Dodge Jeep

With some internal challenges now in the past, Winnipeg Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealer principal Michael Shrimpton and his team are aiming to reclaim their crown as Manitoba’s top-selling Chrysler store. Shrimpton has recently appointed industry veteran John Michaud as the Pointe West AutoPark dealership’s general sales manager.

Michaud, who has eight years of experience in management — all at Chrysler stores — joined the Winnipeg Chrysler team in late June.

“I have worked with Mike (Shrimpton) before,” Michaud says. “We work well together. Under earlier leadership, we used to be one of the larger-volume Chrysler dealers on the Prairies. With Mike’s leadership, we are rebranding and refocusing our efforts to better ensure that customers have a really positive buying experience here.”

Michaud has also been reunited with new car sales manager Jason Vega. The former Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive end — he retired after the 2016 season — also sings the praises of Shrimpton and is optimistic that Winnipeg Chrysler Dodge Jeep will soon reclaim its standing as Manitoba’s top Chrysler dealer.

The team was also strengthened by the addition of the Hanson Brothers in the spring. Chris has been in auto sales for over 35 years, Bob for the past five.

“We appreciate the great working atmosphere here,” Bob Hanson says. “We enjoy being part of a team that is on the way up again.”

Gauthier Autoplex running full steam

Business is doubling every month at Jim Gauthier’s new Autoplex, according to pre-delivery inspection manager Al Sidoryk.

Manitoba’s largest collision centre, which opened for business at the end of October behind Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC on north McPhillips Street, has introduced Winnipeg to several new, leading-edge technologies, such as a laser-equipped frame machine that can measure the specifications for each vehicle on the hoist so all the work is done to the manufacturer’s exact specifications. The collision centre also features a GreenTech robotic paint-drying system (of which there are only six in Canada), which uses infrared heat to produce a higher-quality finish and match the paint for any model as close to the manufacturer’s colour as possible.

The Gauthier team also imported Spanesi paint booths — among the best in the industry — from Italy.

Sidoryk adds that as of June 1, the Autoplex is the home of Xpel paint-protection film, a clear film which — when applied to mainly the front bumpers and the hood of a vehicle — prevents road debris and stones from scratching paint.

“Xpel is extremely valuable, in particular for tow trucks and truckers working in construction — but also for anyone doing a lot of highway driving,” Sidoryk says. “It’s one of the best films on the market.”

The Gauthier Autoplex staff can also repair small dents without disturbing the paint at half the usual price for dent removal.

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