Reinventing The Wheel
Willowdale Nissan, a Toronto-based dealership operated by Dealer Principal, Mark Falkenberg, has recently undergone a major renovation with an ultimate goal to better serve its long existing and growing client base, constructing a facility primarily to accommodate that clientele.
Willowdale Nissan has been at its current location since 1972 when it was started by Falkenberg’s father Hans. Today, Willowdale Nissan sells between 1,800 and 2,000 new cars per year as well as 400 to 500 used cars each year. “The construction process was smooth and the dealership is looking forward to long-term relationships with the new clientele that will be coming to visit,” said Falkenberg.
Falkenberg was enthusiastic when discussing the future of the automotive brands. “The brand and the product are getting stronger. I wouldn’t have invested had I not felt that Nissan and Infiniti were able to capture a bigger percentage of the overall market,” said Falkenberg. “The two brands have done a good job in the last few years. Nissan and Infiniti are one of the few manufacturers that have actually done well ahead of Honda and Toyota in year-to-year comparison in the Ontario market.”
Being split into two entities this year, the buildings are completely separate in all different capacities, including hydro, water and gas, as Falkenberg stressed that while renovation may seem simple, it is really misunderstood- the renovation is enormous. “To actually break a building in half is a monumental exercise. You literally have to take every electrical line that went from one end to the other and have to pull them back and bring in a separate power source and rewire every fixture,” said Falkenberg. “At the same time that we were doing that, we took the initiative to bring it up to green standards. We are not completely green, but we have improved the operation significantly.”
Pulling Away From The Competition
Several factors separate Willowdale Nissan from its competitors; prime among them is the company’s history and experience. “We have a very large client base. We are community oriented,” said Falkenberg. It cannot be said by too many dealers that they have been in existence for 40 years in one location.
“A big part of Willowdale Nissan’s success is that most of our staff has been with us for a long period so the relationship component is what we stress when customers come in; they are not seeing new faces. We currently have close to 60 employees.”
With that, the goal of Willowdale Nissan is to continue to provide service and sales at a expectation that will “wow” the customer, ultimately satisfying the customer to such a degree that they will happily return when they are ready to purchase their next car.
It is no wonder why the company has received several customer satisfaction accolades courtesy of Nissan Canada. According to Willowdale Nissan’s website, “Communication is the key to our success. If you’re interested in a new or pre-owned vehicle, servicing your current or future Nissan, or need body work of any description we will always be available to assist you.”
“You need to do something that the customers feel is a reward for them in having stayed with us as long as we have had them,” emphasized Falkenberg. “We’ve had many customers now going on four leases, on a typical four-year lease, so 16 years of patronage.”
Reproduced from The Canadian Business Journal