Since 1970, Capilano Audi has been the exclusive Audi dealer of North Vancouver. Boasting some of the best staff and inventory selection in British Columbia, Capilano Audi consistently ranks as one of the top volume Audi dealers in all of Canada.
Capilano Audi’s business style highlights their emphasis on providing an exceptional customer experience. Led by General Manager Derek Lau, who is also currently pursuing his MBA at Queen’s University, Capilano Audi is a progressive dealership that continues to reach out to its tech-savvy customer base in new ways. From social media – Capilano Audi is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more – to a host of other online strategies, Capilano Audi effectively uses technology to complement and enhance the experience of its customers, many of whom are professionals that use technology in their own lives to save time and money.
“We are reaching out to our customers in all ways possible,” Lau told The Canadian Business Journal. “It allows us to creatively respond the needs of our customers while keeping our marketing budget lean. We are doing things differently than the traditional car dealership.”
Another key to the Capilano Audi business model is that the dealership is managed by a smaller, tightly-knit team. Lean and mean, Capilano Audi is also home to Canada’s top Audi salesperson in James Rincon. Capilano Audi’s lean management model allows it to be very responsive to the needs of its clientele, while remaining proactive to emerging trends in the automotive landscape.
“Given the limited size of our lot, you wouldn’t expect that this store could retail just short of 1,000 new and used cars last year, and we did it with only seven salespeople” Lau commented. “Despite our shortage of space, this dealership projects sales growth in the neighbourhood of 20 per cent over the next five years – we can do this by continuing to build relationships within our community and by using technology to our advantage.” Currently Capilano Audi sells between 20 to 25 pre-owned vehicles each and every month despite only having the physical space to stock 11 used vehicles on the lot. An effective online marketing strategy has made Capilano Audi’s remarkable sales success possible.
What began in the 1970s as a shared facility split with another dealer, Capilano Audi recognized its growth potential and separated to its own standalone facility that provided greater space for customer service, a state-of-the-art showroom, and improved inventory selection.
The economic slide of 2008 wreaked havoc on the automotive sector, and those effects reverberated on Capilano Audi. However, prior to this period, Capilano Audi first felt the challenge of the on par Canadian Dollar, where given the dealership’s proximity to the United States, many buyers would simply purchase their new Audi at a lesser cost from an American dealer. The fourth quarter of 2007 was a particularly difficult period for Capilano Audi.
“We pulled through that, but then with the credit crisis in 2008, there was an even greater challenge as many manufacturers, including Audi, decided to ease out of the leasing business by cancelling special lease rates,” Lau explained. “What happened then was a self-fulfilling prophecy as most of the leasing business evaporated as customers were not interested in leasing an Audi at 9 per cent interest.”
Soon enough, Audi Canada revamped its lease offerings. As a result, Capilano Audi gained marketplace momentum, and in perfect timing too, as it coincided with the launch of several new Audi models, such as the game-changing Audi R8. The new models maintained Audi’s luxury orientation while also introducing buyers to a greater focus on efficient technologies and outstanding vehicle design.
Efficiency and the Future
New emission standards are a huge trend in the automotive world, and Capilano Audi has capitalized on this opportunity by offering vehicles in its lineup that make use of clean diesel technology. While long revered for its remarkable fuel efficiency and driving dynamics in Europe, Audi first introduced its clean diesel technology to the Canadian marketplace in 2009 with the launch of the A3 TDI and Q7 TDI. TDI diesel technology can improve fuel economy levels by up to 30 per cent, while performing as smoothly and powerfully as equivalent gasoline models.
This year, the company plans for a substantial rollout of its clean diesel lineup, where it will introduce the Audi Q5, A6, A7, and A8 all in TDI. Audi’s emphasis on clean diesel technology embodies its corporate slogan “Vorsprung Durch Technik”, which translates in English to “Advancement Through Technology”.
Coupled with legendary quattro all-wheel drive and investing in weight-saving technologies and materials such as aluminum, Audi is on the cutting edge of delighting customers worldwide, and Capilano Audi is a prime example of this corporate vision in action.