Ready Honda

For Canada's oldest continually run Honda dealer, great service is automatic

If you happen to be one of the 5.5 million people who live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), then you are most likely familiar with the friendly “I Love my Ready Honda” radio spots. If you happen to live in the downtown core, then you are very likely to recognize one of the Ready Honda car dealerships that has been located on Dundas for decades. Behind the ads and the dealership is a family business built on passion for automotives and service.

“Once gasoline gets into your blood, it never leaves,” says Bob Redinger, CEO of Ready Honda. Redinger grew up around cars, as he is the son of Ready Honda founder Eric Redinger, who started the business in 1951 at Bathurst and Dupont in Toronto.

In his childhood, Redinger saw firsthand the culmination of the drive, hard work and spirit that his father put into growing the business. After cutting his jib at General Motors of Canada, Redinger returned to Ready Honda as General Manager in 1983 to carry on the family business, and continue in the spirit in which Ready Honda was founded. The business has expanded to three locations (New vehicles at 230 Dundas Street west, Service at 260 Dundas Street east, and used vehicles at 430 Heneall Circle, Mississauga) since, and is enjoying the greatest success in its long history.

Redinger seems eager to go to work every day, and his passion of his work is evident in his tone, which has been recognized by his peers. “What is so nice about what I do, and what draws me to it, is every day is different. There is never boredom. You run into situations that are exciting—there is always learning and it is stimulating.”

“Everything Honda”

Put simply, Ready Honda specialises in “everything that Honda sells in Canada. If the brand name is Honda, we sell and service it.” This includes vehicles, used vehicles, All-Terrain Vehicles, motorcycles, equipment lines and marine products. Ready Honda also services their products with car clinics to familiarise buyers with their new purchases, full service and body shop with Honda-trained mechanics and technicians, full line of parts, and leasing information.

Ready Honda is also known to have one of the largest inventories of Honda products in the GTA. Carrying Honda’s complete line, the dealership carries over 300 new vehicles at any time, over 100 used vehicles and 50 motorcycles at any time.

Longevity permeates every aspect of the Ready Honda business, including the sales team. Redinger has created a fine sales and managerial team for his shops, many of whom have been with Ready Honda for years. “Over our long history, the key to success, I have to honestly say, is my staff.  In the auto industry, there is a quick turnover in employment. That has not been an issue for me,” he says.

Redinger employs an open-door philosophy for running his shops and he prides himself on being transparent and accessible with the team. “My door is always open,” he says. Each manager is entrusted to run their department as if it was their own business, and Redinger acts more like a coach. “I help think things through, but over time they have learned my style of management and that eliminates the need for interference. They are innovative and come up with ideas for the betterment of the customers and the business,” he continues.

One such idea was born out of the concept of joining the three Ready Honda shops together, if only virtually. As such, Redinger partnered with a media system company named VenueVision in order to overcome the challenge of seamlessly attaching the three autonomous shops, for new cars, used cars and Honda Powerhouse, respectively. Together, they came up with the concept of having video screens in each shop of the different building.

“In the service building, for instance, you can view the new cars. It’s a targeted message,” says Redinger. Additionally, Ready Honda uses the VenueVision concept towards off-site advertising. “The concept is fantastic. Customers get education and information in a seamless fashion.”

CADA Dealer Laureate award

Redinger’s passion for his work and acute focus on creating a team and community within the automotive industry in the GTA has not gone unnoticed. In fact, the Ready Honda team has been acknowledged for its premium service by its peers.

Redinger was the recipient of the prestigious 2009 CADA Dealer Laureate award for business innovation—really, the Oscar for this industry.  Each year there are three winners a year in three categories, chosen from a pool of 3,500 new car dealers of all brands. The honour is quite distinct, something which is not lost on Redinger. “I was quite honoured and flattered to have this honour bestowed on me, certainly,” he says, again, crediting the Ready Honda team for the recognition. Ready Honda frequently top Honda Quality Dealer lists, winning it for the third consecutive time this year.

Theirs is a real Canadian success story. Built on a vision and a real connection to the community, Ready Honda has been a mainstay in the automotive industry for years, and is helping second and third generation car purchasers with their automotive needs. And with younger Redingers already spending time in the dealerships, it looks like it will continue to be so for generations.