The 2017 Ford Escape rolled into town a couple of months ago with some distinct changes.
From the curb, this popular compact SUV is shaped more like Ford’s crossover Edge, says Birchwood Keystone Ford sales rep Dondee Manansala. “The 2017 model (Escape) has been built with a little more of a European look,” Manansala says. “It also has sleeker styling inside. The styling has improved quite a bit.”
Under the hood, Manansala says, the previous 1.6-L engine has been replaced with a more fuel efficient turbocharged 1.5-L EcoBoost engine in the SE and Titanium trim levels which produces 180 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. The naturally aspirated 2.5-L four-cylinder remains the engine of record for the base S trim.
One key new standard feature, Manansala says, is the installation of Ford’s latest generation Sync Connect technology, which makes its worldwide debut in the 2017 Escape.
Sync Connect allows owners to communicate with their Escape via a smartphone app, performing a variety of functions, such as remote start and locking/unlocking operations, scheduling future starting times and checking the amount of fuel left in the tank.
Also new in the 2017 Escape are adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning and brake pre-conditioning; lane-assist alert and active lane aid, which makes steering corrections; and enhanced parking assist (wherein the driver operates the pedals and gearshift while the system controls the steering).
The starting price for the 2017 Escape, he says, is $23,900 (plus freight and pdi). He says there are currently just three 2017 Escape models on the lot but that more are expected in the near future.
Birchwood Auto Group management shuffle
The recent departure of D’arcy McLean from Birchwood Keystone Ford has led to a few management changes for the Birchwood Auto Group.
McLean, who was the general manager at Birchwood’s Ford store, opted to return to his native Nova Scotia.
Robin Okaja was tapped to replace McLean at the Ford store in mid April.
Okaja was most recently the GM at Birchwood Chevrolet Buick GMC, the Birchwood Automotive Group’s flagship store. Okaja joined the Birchwood Group in 2008 as a sales rep at the Honda store on Regent Avenue West and, a year later, was promoted to management. She transferred to the Chev store about a year ago, after serving as general manager at the Honda store for two years.
“I am a lot closer to home at Birchwood Keystone Ford,” she says of her new position. “And I am very happy with the team here.”
Filling Okaja’s position at the Chev store is Shane Rankin, who has been with the Birchwood Group in a variety of management positions since 2006. Rankin was most recently the general manager at Birchwood Hyundai.
Rankin’s replacement at Birchwood Hyundai is Tom Bedolfe, an 11-year veteran with the Birchwood Group who, until now, had spent his entire career at Birchwood Honda West, where he was most recently a sales manager.
“It’s gratifying having my own store with the added responsibility,” he says.
“I am looking forward to helping to grow the Hyundai brand. It has been enjoyable meeting new people and having a different clientele. Our sales team is the youngest that I have ever worked with. They remind me of myself when I started in this business.”
ADESA celebrates record year
On May 19, ADESA Winnipeg celebrated its 29th anniversary in our community by putting through almost 1,000 used cars.
Gregg Maidment, ADESA’s Canadian operations senior vice-president (who also heads the Winnipeg operation), says the local auto auction house registered a 25 per cent growth in sales over the past year and added 100 new employees — thereby increasing the size of ADESA’s workforce in the province by about one-third.
“Last year, we registered one of the largest increases in sales in our history,” Maidment says.
“Our growing international sales (via lifestreaming on the Internet) have really helped. Almost 50 per cent of the vehicles we sell, we sell out of province — with many of them being shipped out of the country.”
He says with new car sales at an all time high, there are a lot more cars being traded in.
Another area of growth for ADESA Winnipeg has been in private vehicle sales.
Five years ago, ADESA Winnipeg introduced a public auction program through which the company on Highway 7 (just north of Winnipeg) 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. But 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 says in April alone, ADESA charity auctions raised $1.4 million for Variety, the Children’s Charity of Manitoba, the Dream Factory, and Ronald MacDonald House.
In the bigger picture, Maidment says, ADESA now operates more than 300 auction sites and employs more than 17,000 people worldwide.
The company has buyers in more than 100 countries.