Dealer Groups

Pfaff acquires Mercedes-Benz store in Ontario


Pfaff Automotive Partners has acquired a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Kitchener, Ontario, the group announced early this month.

Now named Mercedes-Benz Kitchener-Waterloo, Pfaff’s newly purchased facility spans 41,000 square-feet and was last owned by Victoria Star Motors, which first launched operations at the location in 1994.

“When I was getting my start in the automotive industry, I worked with the Mercedes-Benz brand from 1982 to 1985,” Pfaff Automotive Partners president and chief executive officer Chris Pfaff said in a news release. “What I learned about premium products and a premium customer experience has stuck with me, and that’s just one reason I’m so excited to be involved with the brand once again.”

Located at 125 Centennial Road, Mercedes-Benz Kitchener-Waterloo is an AMG Performance Center, a Mercedes-Benz van retailer and a smart retailer, according to Pfaff Automotive.

The group also said that the dealership provides both retail and commercial customers a vast selection of vehicle options that fit a variety of price ranges.

“Mercedes-Benz Canada is extremely pleased to welcome Chris Pfaff to our family of retailers,” said Brian Fulton, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada. “Chris has successfully represented high luxury automotive brands across the country for many decades. With the support of a highly qualified team already in place, I am very confident that the significant level of commitment and experience that Chris brings to Mercedes-Benz Kitchener-Waterloo will ensure its sustained growth and continued success.”

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the Alkiers for their 25 excellent years of dedicated service at Victoria Star Motors,” said Fulton.

Go Auto acquires Toyota location, appoints GM from top VW dealership


Go Auto has purchased the Toyota on the Trail store that’s located close to the dealership network’s nearby Drayton Valley Toyota location.

The company announced Wednesday that it has begun operations at Toyota on the Trail with new general manager Shane Sutherland, who most recently served as GM at Edmonton's Norden Volkswagen store. The dealership is the top Volkswagen store in Western Canada and the No. 2 store nationwide, according to Go Auto.

“Toyota on the Trail customers are going to love Shane Sutherland,” Go Auto president Jason Smith said in a news release. “He set all-time highs for customer satisfaction at Norden Volkswagen, and he's excited to bring that same customer-first approach to the Toyota brand.

“Despite his success he's remained a humble and fun-loving guy, and his hallmark has always been clean and clear communication. This is exactly what customers expert from their dealerships today," Smith added. 

“We couldn't be more excited to continue our partnership with Toyota in a central, convenient Edmonton location,” added Smith. “Toyota is already a world-class brand with class-leading vehicles.

“For us to be able to add the Go Auto advantage to that — our exclusive benefits, our 24/7 customer service, our communication tools — is tremendously exciting, both for us, and, we hope, for the Edmonton car buyer.”

At Toyota on the Trail, Go Auto said that Toyota buyers can now take advantage of several exclusive benefits.

Along with 10 percent off parts and service purchases and up to $500 in referral bonuses, Go Auto offers customers free service loaners, a 30-day exchange privilege, as well as in-house insurance and finance options, according to the dealership network.

New HGregoire Mitsubishi store follows investment of over $13M

ST-EUSTACHE, Quebec - 

A 16,000-square-foot size building in a suburb just west of Montreal is now the home of HGregoire’s second Mitsubishi Motors dealership.

The group announced Wednesday that it invested an estimated $13.5 million to open its new Mitsubishi Vaudreuil dealership in the Quebec town of Vaudreuil-Dorion last week.

In addition to HGregoire’s new Mitsubishi Vaudreuil location and established Laval Mitsubishi store, the group owns six other new vehicle dealerships: a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-RAM store, Hyundai store, INFINITI store and three Nissan stores.

“Being always ready to diversify our vehicle offerings to our clients, we are pleased to announce the opening of this Mitsubishi Motors banner in the western suburbs of the island of Montreal,” HGregoire president John Hairabedian said in a news release announcing Mitsubishi Vaudreuil's grand opening. “Already firmly established on the north shore of the island, it was logical for us to set up shop in the dynamic town of Vaudreuil-Dorion, to more easily serve our clientele.”

Additionally, HGregoire also explained that though the new store has only been open for two weeks, Mitsubishi Vaudreuil will be upgraded to match Mitsubishi Motors' latest brand image.

“Mitsubishi Canada is proud to once again join with HGregoire, this time at Vaudreuil-Dorion,” said Tony Laframboise, president and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada. “Given the incredible success of HGregoire Mitsubishi Laval in its very first year of operation, we are certain that this new dealership will be just as successful and will delight clients in the area, particularly with a lineup that includes the all-new Eclipse Cross and the game-changing Outlander PHEV."

HGregoire’s new Mitsubishi store is located at 111 Rue Joseph-Carrier in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec.

Toronto's Alpha Auto Group buys US stores


Alpha Auto Group, a dealership group based in Toronto, has set up shop in the U.S. 

The retailer announced Monday it has purchased Oregon-based Wilsonville Group, a two-store operation that was acquired through AAG’s Alpha USA Holdings subsidiary.

Alpha said Wilsonville Toyota and Subaru combined to pull in $346 million (CAD) in revenue last year and moved 8,000 retail units.

“The acquisition of the Wilsonville Group is a transformative moment for AAG as it establishes a large and highly profitable U.S. platform from which to expand and grow our U.S. footprint,” AAG said in a news release.

“The dealerships' leading volume and margin performance is attributable to the Wilsonville Group's highly capable management team and staff as well as its 'One Person / One Price' model pioneered by Mr. David Jachter who has agreed to serve as an Alpha USA director,” it said. “We expect to continue to be active in growing both our Canadian and US businesses with a focus on customer satisfaction, volume growth and profitability.”

Last month, AAG closed its purchase of 10 dealerships in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario.

AutoCanada enters US with Grossinger Auto Group purchase

EDMONTON, Alberta - 

AutoCanada is expanding south of the border with its recent purchase of the Illinois-based Grossinger Auto Group.

With the acquisition, AutoCanada adds eight dealerships to its lineup in metro Chicago, another six luxury brand dealership in an auto mall in nearby Bloomington/Normal, Ill., market. 

AutoCanada revealed it will pay approximately $110 million CAD for the dealer group, and will finance the transaction through a combination of funds drawn on the recently announced syndicated credit facility and payments received from the Company's recent divestiture of dealerships in Canada. The acquisition is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.

The well-established Grossinger Auto Group has been in business for 90 years. And just last year, Grossinger brought in revenue of $401 million US, equating to $512 million CAD, stemming from the dealerships that represent 11 manufacturers. Last year, the dealerships sold 7,626 new vehicles and 7,304 used vehicles.

The deal serves to diversify the AutoCanada portfolio, adding four new brands — Toyota, Honda, Lincoln and Volvo.

"This is a pivotal move for AutoCanada as this U.S. acquisition broadens our geographical reach and brand diversification through adding a combination of domestic, import and luxury dealerships to our portfolio," said Steven Landry, president and chief executive officer of AutoCanada.  "This is exactly the kind of acquisition that will be instrumental to accelerating our growth. It is a well-established business that is immediately accretive to our earnings and brings new valuable OEM relationships. Acquiring a cluster of dealerships in Chicago gives us a significant presence in a major urban market and follows our pattern of success in Canada."

In the news release announcing the purchase, AutoCanada officials pointed out the U.S. market provides the dealer group with “highly attractive growth opportunities,” while the dealer group also plans to maintain its current growth strategy and performance strength in Canada, as well.  

AutoCanada shared that the majority of the acquired dealerships will continue to operate under the Grossinger name, and local store leadership and staff will be encouraged to remain in place.

"My business partner and co-president of the Grossinger Auto Group, Gary and I have always had tremendous passion for our business and a deep appreciation for our outstanding personnel and loyal customers," stated Caroline Grossinger.

"Once we decided to sell our business we needed to ensure we found a purchaser who was aligned with our priorities of providing employee security, continuity of our community relationships, and our focus on the customer experience. We were able to find those priorities within the AutoCanada team.  We are looking forward to the franchises operating under the very successful AutoCanada team with much success and prosperity in the future,” Grossinger continued.

Kerrigan Advisors, a sell-side advisory firm to auto dealers in the US, represented and advised Gary and Caroline Grossinger, owners of the Grossinger Auto Group, in their sale to AutoCanada. 



OpenRoad launches Western Canada's 1st Karma dealership


OpenRoad Auto Group recently announced that it has opened Western Canada’s first Karma Automotive dealership – its new KARMA VANCOUVER location.

The Karma Automotive dealership is one of only three in the country. The store is also where the 2018 Karma Revero was unveiled.

The Revero was recently named, “Luxury Green Car of Year” by the Green Car Journal. OpenRoad pointed out the model is the first electric extended range vehicle sold in North America.The luxury electric plug-in hybrid sedan is powered by the sun through its solar panel roof.

“It’s an honor to welcome Karma to our family,” OpenRoad president and chief executive officer Christian Chia said in a news release. “We believe strongly in the company the values they hold, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring this exclusive automotive brand to our discerning Vancouver customers.”

The Group announced early this month that it hosted nearly 300 guests at a launch party to celebrate the new KARMA VANCOUVER dealership.

CADA to launch recruiting campaign aimed at millennials, women, military veterans


The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) announced at the Montreal International Auto Show that it plans to launch a national recruiting campaign aimed at groups such as millennials, women, new Canadians and military veterans.

Auto dealerships currently employ around 150,000 people nationwide, and that number is expected to rise in response to the auto sector’s recent rapid and continuous growth, CADA said in a news release following its announcement at the auto show.

According to CADA there are over 3,200 car and truck dealerships across Canada with open jobs in a variety of positions, including those in marketing, finance, sales, parts, IT, service and management roles.

"The auto sector is experiencing immense growth, as evidenced by dealer revenues exceeding $120 billion last year alone," CADA president and chief executive officer John White said in the news release.

A national Abacus Data survey of 2,000 millennials recently found that this age group (ages 18 to 37 years) have largely not considered jobs at auto dealerships.

Sixty-eight percent of the millenials polled said they had never considered working in an auto dealership, compared to a much smaller 25 percent who said they have considered the option.

Only seven percent of those in the age group said they have worked or currently work in a dealership.

CADA said these findings indicate that among millennials there is an overall lack of awareness concerning the volume and variety of career opportunities within the auto sector.

"What's less well-known are the variety of well-paying career opportunities that exist at dealerships," said White. "The modern dealership now needs more employees with a skill-set related to innovation and business, from technicians who are trained in advanced technology to savvy marketers who can leverage social media strategically."

Meanwhile, the survey also found that more men than women were likely to say they would consider working at an automobile dealership (31 percent versus 19 percent, respectively).

The Abacus Data survey was conducted from Dec. 22 to Jan. 8.

Additionally, CADA said its national campaign will also provide potential applicants with helpful auto career resources.

"The upcoming campaign will promote franchised new car and truck dealers as an attractive and rewarding place to pursue and grow a career. Beyond Millennials, our strategy also includes targeting such groups as women, new Canadians, and military veterans," said White.

With GM, CanadaOne deals, AutoCanada to control 5 GM stores


AutoCanada announced two agreements last week that will result in the company having direct ownership and control of five General Motors Canada dealerships, with CanadaOne Auto Group having the same in four others.

Here’s how that shakes out.

AutoCanada executed a Public Company Master Agreement with GM Canada. That gives AutoCanada the permission to directly own and control GM dealerships.

AutoCanada also signed a deal with CanadaOne — which is run by AutoCanada founder and former chief executive officer Patrick Priestner — that results in AutoCanada taking control of five of the nine GM dealerships it previously had majority stakes in but not voting rights, and then CanadaOne buying AutoCanada’s interest in four stores.

CanadaOne will make a one-time payment of approximately $23 million to AutoCanada. 

The PCMA also requires each general manager of an AutoCanada/GM store to own a minority position in the dealership.

An independent committee on AutoCanada’s board of directors reviewed and approved the transaction; once the transactions gain final approval from GM Canada, they are expected to close on Jan. 2.

Once the deals close, here is how the ownership will look:

AutoCanada ownership
Island Chevrolet Buick GMC in Duncan, British Columbia
Bridges Chevrolet Buick GMC, North Battleford, Saskatchewan
Mann-Northway Auto Source, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Saskatoon Motor Products, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
McNaught Cadillac Buick GMC, Winnipeg

CanadaOne Auto Group ownership
Kelowna Chevrolet, Kelowna, British Columbia
Lakewood Chevrolet, Edmonton
Sherwood Park Chevrolet, Sherwood Park, Alberta
Sherwood Park Buick GMC, Sherwood Park, Alberta

Dilawri Group adds 4th BMW dealership

NEWMARKET, Ontario - 

Dilawri Group of Companies recently announced it has added one of 64 BMW Newmarket dealerships to its portfolio.

The BMW Newmarket location, which represents the fourth BMW dealership for the group, was recently renovated to expand both the showroom and service department, according to Dilawri.

“With the addition of BMW Newmarket, we are proud to introduce Dilawri’s customer-centric focus to Newmarket and surrounding area,” group co-principal director Kap Dilawri said in a news release. “We are extremely pleased to further strengthen our partnership with BMW Canada, and are proud to represent this world-class brand in Newmarket.”

Additionally, BMW Newmarket customers can now take part in the Dilawri Rewards program, which extends savings on service, parts, accessories and future vehicle purchases to repeat customers.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to assist customers in Newmarket and the surrounding area with their luxury vehicle sales and service needs, and we look forward to becoming an integral part of the local community,” added BMW Newmarket general manager Jamie MacArthur.

Policaro Automotive Family names Francesco Policaro CEO

OAKVILLE, Ontario - 

The Policaro Automotive Family announced the appointment of Francesco Policaro as the company's new chief executive officer Wednesday.

Francesco brings over 20 years of experience with the company to his new role.

Francesco began his career as a part-time vehicle detailer at the age of 11 and has since held positions such as parts adviser, service adviser, parts delivery driver, pre-owned sales consultant and new-vehicle sales consultant, according to the Policaro Automotive Family.

“It is truly an honour for me to be entrusted with our family business,” Francesco said in a news release announcing his appointment. “Our new structure will allow for our organization to move forward with renewed purpose. It is an exciting time for our company with new dealership openings, construction projects and imminent launches of new and diversified businesses. I look forward to the challenge ahead.”

In 2002, Francesco transitioned to Northwest Lexus to serve as general sales manager where he oversaw the design and construction of the new retail operation and its launch.

After completing the NADA Dealer Succession Program, Francesco was named general manager of Northwest Lexus in 2005. While there, he led the dealership to its first of three consecutive Award of Excellence designations.

In 2011, Francesco left to open Porsche Centre Oakville, where he was once again responsible for the construction and organization of the new dealership.

The Policaro Automotive Family currently operates seven franchises carrying seven brands including Acura; BMW; Harley-Davidson; Honda; Lexus; Porsche and Toyota.