Manitoba’s oldest Hyundai dealership is under new ownership. The Carey family sold Focus Hyundai, the dealership on Nairn Avenue they have operated for more than 25 years, to Brian Lowes, (president and general manager of Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg), and his business partners, effective August 1.
“Tom and I and our father (James Carey) started the business in 1991,” says John Carey who had been the dealer principal. “Although several earlier Hyundai stores had closed, our father felt this would be a good opportunity. For a number of years, we were Winnipeg’s only Hyundai.”
For many years, Focus Hyundai operated out of three separate buildings on its Nairn lot. In 2007, the three buildings were combined into one new, two-story facility at the same location. The current structure has a nine-car showroom, 10 service bays and three wash bays.
While Focus Hyundai sales continue to grow, John and Tom Carey were facing financial pressures from the manufacturer to upgrade their dealership to fit the current Hyundai image requirements.
“Tom and I decided at this time it was in the best interests of our families to sell,” says John Carey (who is also a former MMDA President). “It’s a sign of the times in our industry. The capital expenditures required today make it very difficult for independently-owned dealerships to continue to operate. As part of a dealer group, you have access to a deeper pool of funds and are able to realize economies of scale.”
Carey says he and his brother have no plans at the moment for this next stage in their lives. “We will miss our co-workers and our customers,” he says.
New Mercedes-Benz E-Class arrives in Winnipeg
Mercedes-Benz Canada introduced its new 2017 E-Class model to Winnipeg on July 24, as part of its cross-Canada Masterpiece of Intelligence Tour. Roger Man, Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg’s sales manager, reports 120 customers signed up for the day-long driver-training event at Assiniboia Downs. “We had a lot of great feedback,” Man says.
With the introduction of the new E300 model, Man says, Mercedes-Benz is maintaining its position as a pioneer in the introduction of autonomous driving functions. “Mercedes Benz’s ongoing development of autonomous driving technology is ultimately aiming to completely eliminate all traffic deaths caused by human error.”
The system (which is also included in the S-class model) can steer on its own for brief periods and also brake on its own to avoid crashing.The enhanced steering assist can operate at speeds up to 100 km/h on highways and secondary roads. It takes its cue from a car in front, guardrails and buildings on the sides of the road.
Man points out the cruise-control function can adjust a set speed in response to speed limit signs or speed limit information taken from the navigation system.
Man notes the 2017 E300 has been given a new bodystyle which is intended to appeal to a younger, more dynamic demographic — as well as long-time customers of the mid-size luxury sedan.
The interior has also been upgraded. Of special note, Man points out, is the high-resolution 12.3-inch central display running Benz’s COMAND infotainment interface and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
The standard engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder, 2L model which puts out 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.
Man reports the model’s base price is $61,200 (plus freight and pdi). “We have one model in stock now and are expecting three or four more later this month,” he says. “We have written a number of pre-orders. As this is the tenth generation E-Class model, the sedan has built up a large following. We are anticipating a high demand for the model.”
Auto seller introduces redesigned website
John Gordon, the co-founder of online auto marketer Quick Auto Seller, reports he has just recently redesigned his website, introducing new graphics and making it even more user-friendly.
Gordon, an auto sales veteran, started Quick Auto Seller a few months ago after experiencing first-hand the frustration of trying to sell a vehicle online. “I tried selling a car online on one of the popular internet sites,” he says. “In three months, I only got eight phone calls.”
The problem, he says, is that every day, 1,500 new ads are listed. “It takes a lot of time and effort,” he points out. “You need to renew your ad every couple of days. It can be almost a full-time job, and people who lack sales experience have few people they can turn to for information and help.”
Gordon is promising sellers his new online listing can get results — and he has several testimonials from satisfied customers to back him up.
The website — quickautoseller.com — lists autos for sale (with photos and information) and auto industry news in addition to the customer testimonials.
And, two months ago, Quick Auto Sellers upped its game with the first edition of a regular flyer — being distributed through the Free Press — which featured several pages of cars for sale by their owners, with descriptions, photos, detailed information, phone numbers and ad numbers so readers can follow up online.
“We are trying to emulate the magazine that Auto Trader used to put out,” he says. “We guarantee that between our online site and our mass flyer distribution more than 10,000 people will see your listing. “We are planning in the future to put out regular magazines to showcase our clients’ vehicles,” he says.
Dealer of the week
Sales Rep: Justin Goldstone
Dealership: River City Ford
No. of Years: one
Favourite Model: Ford Mustang GT
Why: “I have loved the Mustang ever since I was a kid,” Goldstone says. “I still get a thrill from the sound of that big V-8 engine. The Mustang is the real muscle car.”