Davenport Motors opened for business in 1995 as a used car dealership, and expanded with the Subaru brand in 1999. It turned out to be the right time and the right car to offer the Canadian customer, and Subaru sales continue to exceed even the biggest expectations of Mike Davenport, the Principal in this successful venture. The dealership serves Subaru customers in Orillia, Midland, Penetanguishene, Port Severn and surrounding areas, and offers customers a huge selection of new models and used Subaru Certified Pre-Owned vehicles.
“At the time, we were big on used cars and I wanted to add a brand that would complement that. Subaru at that time was a smaller brand in Canada, and they let us go in our own direction, and I also saw a great potential in this brand. Subaru at that time was selling some 10,000 cars a year, and today it’s around 40,000, so the Subaru brand has definitely become more widespread and mainstream,” says Davenport, who has spent his career in the automotive trade.
Compared to other countries, the Canadian geography and climate pose quite a challenge to the driver and vehicles on the road. The weather changes often and it often changes unpredictably, and the landscape encompasses everything from the Rocky Mountains, through the prairies, all the way to our urban centres such as Toronto, both challenging the skills of the driver and the reliability and performance of the driven brand.
“With the all-wheel drive and the safety features, once you drive a Subaru, you will not want to drive anything else ever again,” says Davenport. “I just recently overheard my friend saying, ‘I’ll never drive anything but a Subaru.’ This is partially because this brand is so well equipped for Canada and its environments. Also, people still think Subaru cars are more expensive, but that is in the past. Our cars are the same price, even less expensive, as any other Japanese brand,” says Davenport.
The Subaru brand has been positioned as a premium brand with the customers, but Subaru has taken steps to become more competitive in the market, and has also introduced more models in more categories. Today, Davenport Subaru offers the extensive Subaru lineup, including Tribeca, Impreza, Forester, Outback, Legacy, Impreza
WRX and the Impreza WRX STI, and the dealership strives to bring customer satisfaction to a new level and increase the base of its loyal customers.
Subaru’s Forester and Outback models share the top spots in the market for the crossover category with the customers. “The new models of these cars are extremely well received by the public, and were No. 1 with consumer report. we exceeded Toyota and Honda in 2012, we are No. 1 in cross test and No. 1 in resale value for the past four years, so there is a lot to look at, and the cars are much more affordable now.”
With all the new models, customer satisfaction and more affordable rates, the Davenport Subaru team sold 800 new and used cars, ranking No. 1 in volume amongst Japanese brands in Orillia, outselling Toyota and Honda in Orillia.
Part of the dealership’s success has been the exceptional service provided by its team. This applies double to the company’s technicians, where two of it technicians ranked in Subaru’s Top 10 in Canada, and the Top 3 in Ontario under Subaru’s training program. “We are very, very proud of this. It would be an honour to have just one mechanic to rank this high, but to have two of them is just something exceptional,” says Davenport.
Besides quality service, Davenport is very well aware of the opportunities and business potential offered by a strong online presence. The dealership has fully embraced the online marketing model, and owes a big part of its success to partnering with EZ Results to help drive the company e-business, reining in customers not only from Orillia but all over Ontario and right across Canada.
“We have been heavily invested in the growth of the online opportunities, and when you search for ‘Subaru’ online, we make sure that our dealership comes up not just locally and across Ontario, but across Canada. We had people from Newfoundland and also the west coast, people who couldn’t find the car they wanted in their area, flying in to pick up their car and drive it home. You didn’t have these opportunities before the Internet. That’s why we expanded on that big time, and possibly 40 per cent of our business is from outside our area,” says Davenport.
With Subaru driving strong results, Davenport also expanded the offering of Davenport Motors with Kia, the reinvented and modernized brand that also presses on in the Canadian market. “This is a fast and upcoming brand but in a different category than Subaru, so it was a perfect addition for us. This brand has been growing steadily for the past five years, and I think this trend will continue,” says Davenport.
“The Subaru brand has been good for us. And we also owe our success to our close relationships with the automotive community, from our suppliers to our partners and banks and, of course, our customers, employees and the local community. It is these relationships we owe our success to, and the closer our relationships are the easier it is to do business,” concluded Davenport.