2014 is set to be a milestone year for Lauria Hyundai of Port Hope,Ont. The family-owned and operated dealership will celebrate 30 years of servicing its community with quality cars and value-added service.
President Frank Lauria’s life-long passion for automobiles prompted him to open his first dealership in Sutton, Ont., in 1976 before moving to Port Hope in 1984. “Born and raised in the industry,” his son Bud followed in his footsteps, with his love for the industry taking him through every position a dealership can offer, and to the Canadian Automotive Institute at Georgian College in Barrie, Ont. It is this experience and knowledge that today makes Bud Lauria such a successful General Manager and Owner – an owner who leads the dealership towards high quality service for residents of Central Ontario.
Originally a GM store, the Lauria dealership has received the Triple Crown (as one of the Top 100 dealers in Canada) eight times. But with the restructuring of General Motors in 2009, the father and son team were forced to move the dealership in a different direction.
“The industry was going through a massive change, and we capitalized on that,” says Bud Lauria. “In our first year with Hyundai, we not only won the President’s Award of Merit, but also finished as the highest ranking Hyundai dealership in all of Canada (the President’s Award of Merit is awarded based on new car volume vs. objective, Certified Pre-owned volume vs. objective, Sales Customer Satisfaction and Service Customer Satisfaction). In both 2011 and 2012, we were the No.1 ranking Hyundai dealership in Canada for overall CSI.”
The Hyundai brand of today provides consumers with a world class product, bringing in the latest technologies, adhering to a high standard of quality, and offering stunning designs. On the pre-owned side, Hyundai also offers one of the strongest Certified Pre-owned programs in the market, and customers love it. According to Lauria, Hyundai also does an excellent job supporting its dealer network. Where many manufacturers use the dealer network to distance themselves from the customer, Hyundai works with the dealers to provide customers with the best experience possible. “This makes me extremely proud to be a Hyundai dealer,” says Bud.
According to Bud, the biggest challenge in the automotive industry today is the public’s overall negative perception of the industry due to too many examples of underhanded practices, with customers becoming distrustful and cautious when walking into a dealership.
“Are they wrong for feeling that way? I don’t think so. Every industry has bad apples in their midst. The key is to show our customer that for every one bad person out there, there are 100 good people – our friends, neighbours, family, etc. – simply making a living doing something that they love; honest, hard-working people who not only want to sell or service a car, but want to make sure that it was done in a way that keeps the customer not only coming back, but also referring their friends and family,” says Bud.
With these negative public perceptions, Lauria Hyundai strives to offer honest, caring, and friendly service that the customers crave. That’s why Lauria seeks these values in each person considering a career with Lauria Hyundai, because every employee represents the dealership not only at work, but also in their daily life. “I think it’s different when you live in a small town, and run a business here. Every time you leave your house, you run into customer or potential customers. If you can’t look them in the eye on the street, then you shouldn’t be able to look them in the eye in your showroom either.”
As a dealership, the cars are not the only product offered at Lauria Hyundai. The dealership significantly expanded its service in order to provide additional value to the customer, striving to create a one stop shop experience. The dealer is fully equipped to service any make or model. The dealership offers the broadest variety of services possible, introducing window tint service, custom dash kits and glass treatment installations, detailing services, etc. and even offers tires from most manufacturers to provide the product variety customers seek. The goal is to offer customers the most choices under one roof; the plan is to continue expanding these services and grow the pre-owned wholesale and retail business.
According to Bud, the people and process are key to a successful customer experience. That’s why the dealer continuously works on finding new ways to make product and service easy to obtain by existing or potential customers. “This represents an integral part of success today. Success is easier if you have the right people doing the right things at the right time. We create success through efficient service. We treat mistakes as learning opportunities to be better at what we do,” says Bud.
Car dealerships always play an important part of any community, and it is no different in Port Hope. Every year Lauria Hyundai commits tens of thousands of dollars to the community through partnership programs, sports sponsorships, charity events, and more. “We believe that a strong connection with the community in which you operate is not only the responsible thing to do, but the smart thing to do. Our customers appreciate our efforts to touch so many lives in a positive way, and they express that appreciation by supporting us as a business,” says Bud.
The future of the Lauria Hyundai lies in quality service. Today’s customer is well informed not only about the brand, but also about the dealer. “The future of the industry lies in connecting with customers, and I believe that my team understands that and in this aspect we are well positioned for the years ahead,” concludes Bud.