The cars are the stars at Audi Winnipeg

BY Myron Love . May 20 04:00 am

A couple of star cars from the Captain America: Civil War movie have made their Winnipeg debut. On May 10, Audi Winnipeg unveiled the Hollywood hot rods in its showroom on Century Street.

A large crowd was in attendnace to lay eyes on a 2016 RS7 and 2017 R8. Both new Audi models were featured prominently in the film.

“The R8 is a complete redesign,” says Audi Winnipeg sales manager Dan Hetherington. “Over half the car’s features have been changed and improved upon. The biggest difference is increased performance.”

According to Hetherington the new R8 is similar to Lamborghini’s Huracan. The R8 offers a choice between the standard V-10 coupe with 540 horsepower and the V-10 Plus with 610 hp, both of which come with Audi’s patented Quattro seven-speed S tronic transmission. The engine is located toward the rear — just in front of the rear axle.

Ninety per cent of the R8 is assembled by hand, Hetherington says. Inside, the new R8 features a virtual cockpit, now the standard on all Audi cars. “It’s all digital,” Hetherington says. “There are no gauges.”

Despite the changes, the 2017 R8 still looks like an R8 and still has AWD. 

Hetherington says the R8 is going to be a rare gem indeed. Audi Winnipeg has only been allotted three models for the year and one is already sold. The only model currently in the showroom has the V-10 Plus engine and is priced at slightly less than $205,000. “We will be receiving our third model later in the year,” Hetherington says.

The major change to the R7 for this year, Hetherington says, is improved engine performance — with the new model’s twin turbo-charged four-litre V-8 available with as much as 610 hp when equipped with the Performance Edition package. “The RS7 Performance Edition was introduced just two years ago,” he says. “The body therefore is little changed from last year. Inside, there are some standard upgrades such as diamond stitching and carbon fibre trim.”

The model on display in the Audi Winnipeg showroom has an optional black matte paint finish which contributes an added touch of class to its appearance. The optional matte finish adds $6,800 to the price of the vehicle. The showroom model is priced at just under $160,000.

“We have a few more models coming,” Hetherington says. “We have two longtime customers who have driven most of a number of different Audi models. They say the 2016 R7 is the best car they have ever driven.”

Eastern Chrysler No. 1

For the second year in a row, Eastern Chrysler Dodge Jeep is the top-rated auto dealer on the national dealer rating website, Dealerrater.ca.

There are almost 700 reviews for the north Winnipeg Chrysler dealer on the website, several hundred more than any other Manitoba dealer.

“The volume of reviews on the website has given our sales a phenomenal lift,” says Jim Fyles, Eastern Chrysler’s dealer principal.

Any customer coming into the dealership can check the reviews right in the showroom on a standalone touch screen. 

When Auto Canada acquired Eastern Chrysler in 2013, Fyles says, the new management team placed an emphasis on customer online reviews. “With every sale,” he says, “we take a photo of the customer receiving delivery of their new vehicle. We then send the photo to the customer’s mobile phone and ask the customer to write a review of the buying experience with us and post it on the website.”

Fyles adds dealerrater.ca is Canada’s only nationally-tracking IP address and is able to detect false reviews. 

“Customer service is our No. 1 priority,” Fyles says, “and we try to excel at what we do. We believe that if we treat our customers appropriately, we will have satisfied customers for life.”

Gauthier Chrysler reno

Gauthier Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has a new look. Last fall, the Regent Avenue store completed a 6,000-square-foot addition to the facility which has more than doubled the size of the building.

“We used to have one of the smallest showrooms in the city,” says veteran Gauthier Chrysler sales rep Jim McMillan. “Now we can showcase most of our models in our showroom.”

The front end of the building has not been changed much (the major difference is the addition of a new Ram Truck Centre). The main action was at the back end, where the new and much larger parts department is located.

“The larger parts department allows us to keep more parts in stock and get customers on the road faster,” says new car manager Bryan Ambrozik.

The dealership also has a few new faces up front, led by new used car sales manager Jason Khan who joined the sales team in early March.

Khan has been in auto sales for 11 years and in management positions with different dealer groups for the past six years. 

“I had heard really good things about this store,” he says. “I like the pace of business. Gauthier Chrysler is busier than most other stores I have worked at. We have over 1,000 new and used vehicles in stock here.” (He adds that his step-father, Chris Singh, is the dealership’s body shop manager.)

Khan brought with him to Gauthier Chrysler two young sales reps, Scott Coubrough and Anthony Gonzales, from his previous store. Both have been in the industry for about a year and are looking forward to their new challenges at Gauthier Chrysler. Also new to the staff is Tyler Lindsay, an 11-year veteran of sales (Chrysler models only) who also joined Gauthier in early March.

And Mike Palay, who is handling Gauthier Chrysler’s sub-prime department, notes the dealership is making a strong push to help potential customers rebuild their credit ratings. “We are working closely with Capital One and Chrysler Canada on this,” Palay says. “We are reaching out to rural customers and holding seminars.” 

Ford helps Fort McMurray

Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd. and Canadian Ford dealers are donating more than $500,000 to the Canadian Red Cross for relief and recovery efforts related to the severe wildfires that have impacted Fort McMurray, Alta., and surrounding areas.

Ford of Canada is matching a $171,000 donation from the nationwide Drive 4UR Community event May 7, the Ford Motor Company Fund is donating $100,000, and Canadian Ford dealer associations have come together to donate an additional $200,000.

On top of this, a number of Ford dealers have made individual contributions, bringing total donations to the Canadian Red Cross to more than $500,000 for Fort McMurray relief and recovery efforts.

“It is inspiring to see the people of Alberta and the rest of Canada come together and support those who have been displaced by the severe wildfires in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas,” said Dianne Craig, president and CEO, Ford of Canada.

“I am also proud of our Canadian Ford and Lincoln dealers for uniting to help evacuees and local charities, including the Canadian Red Cross. Our thoughts are with those affected during this difficult time.”

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