Over the past two weeks, Winnipeg’s two Subaru stores — Frontier Subaru on Pembina Highway and Jim Pattison Subaru Winnipeg on Regent — held customer appreciation evenings that were combined with the launch of the 2017 Impreza.
“Our showroom was full of people,” says Cal Sobering, general sales manager at the Jim Pattison Subaru store, which held its customer appreciation evening on March 8. (Frontier Subaru’s evening was last Wednesday.)
The Pattison evening featured food and drinks, music and a special performance of Irish dancing led by two of Pattison Subaru product adviser Tom Boyd’s children, who recently won a North American Irish dance championship.
The other star of the evening, of course, was the all-new 2017 Impreza.
“We had one model in the showroom another in the shop on a hoist,” Sobering says.
“The 2017 Impreza has undergone a complete redesign.”
To provide more detail on the model, Sobering called in senior Subaru sales rep Monique Thompson, who is completing her 18th year as a Subaru product advisor. (Sobering notes that Thompson is the longest serving Subaru product advisor in the Prairie provinces.)
Thompson reports that customers can choose from 18 different packages that 2017 Impreza offers.
She notes that the new model is being assembled in Indiana instead of Japan and that the 2017 Impreza is being built on the new Subaru global platform.
“For the first time with the Impreza, power seats are included with the higher-end Sport and Sport-Tech models,” she says.
The top-end models also come with heated steering wheels, she points out.
Among the safety features that she cites are rear-view camera, blind spot monitoring and the third generation EyeSight Advanced Driver Assist System, which includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management, and lane departure and sway warning.
The new model is powered by a four-cylinder, two-litre direct injection Subaru boxer engine that produces 152 horsepower, (slightly more than the 2016 model).
The MSRP, notes Cal Sobering, is just less than $20,000 (plus freight and pdi).
He reports that the 2017 Impreza models are selling out almost as soon as they are coming in.
“This is a model that appeals to people from all walks of life — from the university student buying her first car to professional people,” he says. “We are getting customers who are switching from other brands to buy the Impreza. The Impreza doesn’t require a lot of servicing and it retains its value.”
Sobering reports that the three-year-old Subaru store has quickly become one of the top-selling Subaru stores in Western Canada.
“Our sales increased by 20 per cent last year over 2015,” he says. “In January, our sales were up 35 per cent over January 2016.”
Still with Subaru news, Denise Thompson has retired as general manager at Frontier Subaru after close to 20 years with the franchise which was acquired by her parents, Marcel and Val Thompson, in 1998. (The Pattison Group purchased the Frontier Auto Group four years ago and subsequently built the Pattison store.) The dealership’s new general manager is Kirk Cancilla.
Cancilla, who assumed his new position in mid-February, grew up in the auto industry as the son of Ron Cancilla, the long-term president of Autohaus Volkswagen and Autohaus Porches. Cancilla worked in senior management at the family owned dealership until the Cancilla Family sold the business to the Knight Auto Group three years ago.
He had most recently been working in management at another family-owned multi-store operation.
“What appealed to me about Subaru,” he says, “is that it is a fast-growing brand with a growing market share.”
Capital Ford Lincoln celebrates 40 years
On March 10, Capital Ford Lincoln (formerly known as Landau Ford Lincoln) celebrated 40 years in business on Empress Street across the street from Polo Park. The lunchtime event also celebrated the dealership’s 40-year relationship with Ford Credit. On hand were local Ford District and Ford Credit representatives to present the dealership with a commemorative plaque.
The Regina-based Capital Auto Group bought the Winnipeg Ford Lincoln store in August 2014.
Dealer of the week
Sales Rep: Darrell Pomarenski
Dealership: Crown Mazda
No. of Years: three months at Crown Mazda, 13 years in auto sales
Favourite Model: Mazda CX-9
Why: “The CX-9 is incredible,” Pomarenski says. “It has all the latest safety features, such as lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. It’s got everything.”