The excitement and pride is palpable in general manager Darrell Cornwall’s voice as he gives a tour of McPhillips Toyota’s brand new facility — which opened for business last weekend.
He points out the six-car drive-through, a feature the old building lacked entirely. He notes the much larger customer lounge and new WiFi accessibility. He directs the visitor’s attention to the row of enclosed sales rep offices at the back of the showroom (with sales managers and financial services behind them) leaving a clear view of the showroom from the outside. (At the old building, the sales reps’ desks were just that — desks located largely along the windows at the front of the showroom.)
He is especially happy to have an illuminated truck area in the new facility — a feature that was lacking in the old showroom due to lack of space.
“Truck buyers who come in usually know what they want,” Cornwall said. “Now they can come into our showroom to see our Tundras and Tacomas instead of our having to rush outside in the winter and clean the snow off our trucks before we take them outside.”
A touch of luxury, Cornwall points to, are the washrooms elegantly clad in grey tile and outfitted with stainless steel sinks and automatic faucets.
A walk through the back end of the dealership reveals 14 service stalls, two wash bays and two drive bays and a truck delivery area in a well-lit area loaded with new tools and equipment.
At 30,000 square feet, the new structure is more than double the size of its predecessor.
Originally Carter Toyota, the store has been located on the northeast corner of McPhillips Street and Templeton Avenue since the mid-1980s. Cornwall’s father, Jim, became part owner of the renamed McPhillips Toyota in 1996, and became the sole owner in 2000.
“It was a big decision whether to stay here or move somewhere else,” said Cornwall.
“We spoke with longtime customers before determining where to build a larger store. A lot of our customers are close by and it was more convenient for them just to build where we are.”
(The new store is right alongside the older building, which is slated for demolition within the next month, freeing up more parking space for vehicles.)
“The (building) project went as well as we hoped it would,” Cornwall said, citing the excellent work of Affinity Architects and builder Concord Projects and strong support from the Bank of Montreal. “We began construction last March and finished pretty much right on schedule
“We needed a larger building,” he said. “When we took over this store, we were selling about 300 new units a year. Our business is growing steadily every year. Now, we sell about 1,000 new units and 400 to 500 used vehicles a year.”
Because Cornwall has been largely focused on the new building over the past year, he said, he had to off-load more responsibility on his sales managers, Paul Bowes and Oscar Jimenez.
While Bowes has been a sales manager for quite some time, Jimenez was appointed to the position just last fall. Both started at the store as sales reps. Jimenez was most recently the dealership’s lease renewal manager.
The new store is McPhillips Toyota’s second construction project in three years.
In the summer of 2014, McPhillips Toyota built a 3,000-square-foot facility a few kilometres north of the dealership in the West St. Paul Industrial Park. The property is being used to store inventory and the building serves as the dealership’s detailing centre. It is also where McPhillips Toyota does delivery inspections on its new and used models and takes photos of all the store’s vehicles.
Scion on way out
Toyota is phasing out its Scion brand, with some models being rebranded as Toyotas.
As of 2017, according to Funk’s Toyota Scion product advisor Josh Kehler, the Scion FRS will be rebranded the Toyota GT86 and the iM will be similarly altered (possibly, Kehler said, as the Auris, a model that Toyota currently sells in Europe).
“The xB and the Cube will be discontinued and Toyota will be introducing its new C-HR crossover later this year,” Kehler said. (Toyota introduced the Scion brand in 2013.)
“With the Scion brand, Toyota was trying to attract younger drivers, there were few options with the models. Toyota designers tried to realize cost savings for the driver by incorporating standard features that were thought to be of appeal to younger buyers.”
It went well at first, he said, but the industry has changed over the last couple of years. “First, there has been a shift away from cars to SUVs,” Kehler said.
The new Toyota C-HR is a nod to that trend. It is a smaller SUV with better fuel economy.
“And younger consumers aren’t as interested in owning cars as the previous generation of young drivers,” he said. Manitoba’s only Scion dealers are Funk’s Toyota in Steinbach and Crown Toyota Scion at the Waverley Auto Mall.
Kehler said new Scion models are still available until the current stock sells out. “People who have test driven the 2016 Scion iM really like it. They appreciate the European styling.”
The base price for the 2016 iM is roughly $21,000 (plus freight and PDI).
Remembering Roy Broesky
The staff at Funk’s Toyota are mourning the recent passing of veteran product advisor Roy Broesky.
Broesky died Feb. 16, after a short struggle with cancer.
He was 71.
“Roy was a lifelong car guy,” said Funk’s Toyota Scion dealer principal Rick Funk. “He had been with us for the past 17 years and also worked for us earlier in his career.”
Our sympathy to his family on their loss.