Drive to the top

At a time when the auto industry is down on its luck—still feeling the repercussions of the global financial crisis—we thought it would be an opportune time for some good news. Turns out, good news is just around the corner, in Oakville, Ontario and is found at the LGM offices.

Founded in 1998, LGM (formerly Lions Gate Marketing) is a leading Canadian tier-one supplier of extended warranties, credit insurance, wear protection and theft deterrent products for the automotive and RV industries. Sold at the dealership to both buyers and leasers, the product is an aftermarket warranty extension of the manufacturer warranty. For example, a car may come with a standard factory warranty, which might not be adequate for the long drives, Canadian winters and sports equipment that this buyer intends to use his or her car for. That’s when LGM steps in, with a three-, five- or seven-year extended protection, so in the event of any type of breakdown, the buyer doesn’t pay out of pocket.

“Our customers enjoy working with LGM and Omni, (our parent company who provide the administration of the claim) because we provide what we think to be a world-class level of service to consumers,” says Randy Price, President of LGM.

LGM’s success speaks for itself. The company has grown to include over 900 active dealers nation-wide, exciting business relationships with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) such as Volkswagen Canada and Kia Canada, and a national team of Dealer Development Managers offering local sales training and support.

The formidable period in the automotive industry saw LGM rise to the occasion. Despite tough economic times, the company remained leaders in sales, corporate growth and employee satisfaction and was able to stay the course of strategic growth in headcount and employee benefits. “Certainly the downturn of the automobile economy in 2008 had an effect on everybody in the industry. We fortunately, continued to grow,” says Price.

“We have added in new products in the last couple of years that have allowed us to continue to develop our business even though many others have obviously have been in decline,” says Price, who credits some of LGM’s success to the company’s unique private labelling OEM branded products.

For example, LGM and Omni are responsible for the distribution and the administration of warranty products administered on behalf of Volkswagen Canada and Kia Canada. Ostensibly, the customer is buying an LGM product accredited by Volkswagen, for instance. “From a credibility perspective, it’s a huge advantage for us to be aligned with these respected brands. The average consumer’s likelihood of buying a product is three times higher if the product is branded OEM,” continues Price. LGM is adding more OEM’s to their roster and excited to announce the launch of BMW and Mini in the “very near future.”

And LGM isn’t stopping there. “We certainly anticipate doing more because we are uniquely qualified to provide these services to car companies. We distribute, market and administer the product. LGM and Omni handles the brochures, websites, the e-contracting, everything,” says Price. In return, dealerships enjoy the fee income that comes with it. The evolution of LGM as a company is seeing it become much more focused around providing dealer development and tools to help customers sell more of the LGM products.

Award-winning work environment

LGM’s outward market success is a reflection of its internal operations, it appears. The company has shown up Great Place to Work® Institute Canada’s List of Top 75 Places to Work for the past three years and were in the top 25 for the past two, something Price is rightly proud of. “That was a real accomplishment for us,” he says.

Being employee-oriented is one of the reasons for this honour, he believes. “If you look at great places to work, the key criterion is the satisfaction of the employees. We provide a great work environment that is challenging, but also very rewarding. We survey our employees on a regular basis for further feedback, and we use that to see how we can get better. We are continuously improving the way in which we deal and interact with our employees.”

To qualify this momentum, LGM developed five core values of the company. “The premise of having core values—our corporate beliefs—and by tying them into everything we do, allows us to be a great company. What is interesting is a lot of companies talk a big game about values, but we live them. They are the DNA of LGM, so to speak.”

LGM identified a need for increased customer protection in Canada, and thrived at a time when many companies in the business have folded. What LGM and Omni have done is survive long term in an industry that typically has a short-term life for most companies. They have done so by not only providing an exceptional level of service to their clientele, but also by having a solid administrative review of business to generate sufficient premiums to pay ongoing claims—all while maintaining an outstanding corporate culture.