Updated dealership puts customer first

BY Myron Love . Sep 22 03:00 am

Following a year-long expansion, Winnipeg Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, Manitoba’s top-selling Chrysler dealer, is now double the size — and has added a Fiat component.

“We have reconfigured the store,” general manager Glen Trafford says. “We have added 12,000 square feet and six more cars to our showroom. We have our new reception desk facing the front entrance. We have moved our sales desks out front, making them more visible and welcoming and we have expanded our customer lounge. Overall, we have made the store easier for customers to navigate.”

On the back end, Trafford continues, there are four additional service bays, an expanded drive-thru and a new detailing centre.

“Now we can do all the day-to-day detailing within the building,” he says. “We also have the capability to hand wash all customer cars that are in for servicing.”

He describes the new drive-thru as unique among Winnipeg dealerships.

“We aren’t just doing oil changes,” he notes. “We can do regular maintenance while you wait — or we can provide you with a complimentary vehicle to drive and do some errands while our service staff is doing the maintenance work on your vehicle.”

Upstairs are executive offices, an expanded lunch room for staff and an expanded boardroom — with a TV and computers — for staff meetings and training programs.

Winnipeg Dodge Chrysler Ram Jeep unveiled its new Fiat products around the end of July. The Pointe West AutoPark dealership is the exclusive Fiat dealer in Winnipeg. The Fiat models are in the west wing of the showroom.

“On the service side, we are very busy servicing Fiat owners,” Trafford says.

Fiat has been available in Winnipeg and Steinbach (Steinbach Dodge Chrysler) since 2011. The original Fiat franchisee in Winnipeg dropped the product line about a year ago.

The volume of sales for Fiat models has been constant, Trafford reports. The number of different models is limited, he notes, but there are several different trims to choose from. Fiat customers can choose from the Spider 124, the 500, the 500e, the 500X crossover, the 500 turbo and the Abarth 500L.

As for the Dodge Chrysler brands, Trafford reports that sales remain strong.

“What is surprising is that we have seen a dramatic increase in used car sales over the past few months,” he says.

Also new at Winnipeg Dodge Chrysler is Glen Trafford himself. Trafford was appointed to his role by Jim McManes (the president of the Calgary-based McManes Automotive Group of which Winnipeg Dodge Chrysler is a component) at the beginning of January.

(The McManes Group operates 18 dealerships, almost all based in Alberta and British Columbia. Winnipeg Dodge is the only exception.)

Originally from Medicine Hat, Alta., Trafford began his career in the auto industry while still in high school, working in the service side. He says he sold his first car in 1993 while working for a small dealership in Bow Island, Alta.

His management experience includes six years with the Capital Group out of Regina, two years as general manager for Kia City in Calgary and six years managing the four Dilawri Group of Companies dealerships in Calgary (up until the end of December last year). (The Dilawri Group of Companies operates 61 dealerships across Canada.)

Trafford says wanting to be closer to family brought him to Winnipeg. He has a son here (Kyle works for Winnipeg Dodge Chrysler as part of the electronic communications team and supporting the sales team) and another child and grandchildren in Regina.

“We really like being in Winnipeg,” Trafford says of he and his wife. “It is a surprisingly diverse city.”

Trafford says his goal at Winnipeg Dodge Chrysler is to provide customers with an environment which makes it as easy as possible to buy a vehicle. “That is what our staff focuses on,” he says, noting that customers can book an appointment online in less than three minutes.

Capital Ford helps charity

On Sept.15 — despite miserable weather conditions — 90 people visited Grant Park Festival (1190 Taylor Ave.) to test drive new Ford models and help raise money for individuals with intellectual disabilities. For every person who test drove a Ford, Ford of Canada donated $20 toward down payments for accessible homes for individuals living with an intellectual disability.

“We raised $1,800,” reports Andre Prefontaine, Capital Ford Lincoln’s sales manager.

Capital Ford Winnipeg and Ford of Canada partnered with Epic Opportunities for the “Drive One 4UR Community event” that took place during Disability Support Professionals Week (Sept. 10-16). The fundraiser helped celebrate the work of disability support professionals and raise awareness about the work they do — as well as raising money for the Epic Opportunities Foundation.

Epic Opportunities provides support, resources, programs and services to individuals living with intellectual disabilities. They provide holistic, person-centred supports and promote inclusive communities.

“The Drive One program is a great opportunity for us to support a hard-working charitable organization, while showcasing Ford of Canada’s innovative product line,” Prefontaine says.

The fundraising event featured the F-150, Fusion, Escape, Edge, Explore, and Mustang. In addition to test driving a Ford vehicle, participants enjoyed a barbecue with all proceeds going to the foundation.

Ford of Canada and its dealerships have been supporting local communities with the Drive One 4UR program since 2010, generating more than $8 million in donations for schools and charities across Canada. Capital Ford has participated in Ford’s Drive One 4UR programs for three years, and has made an impact in the community by raising more than $10,000.

myjolove1@gmail.com

 

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