After successfully managing Downtown Acura of Toronto, General Manager Michael Brugel was tasked with bringing that same performance to the brand’s northern GTA dealership, Markham Acura.
Simply put, Markham Acura and Downtown Acura essentially exchanged businesses in April of this year, with Markham Acura bringing most of its experienced team along for the move. The importance of a knowledgeable and competent team was one of the key areas Brugel highlighted when speaking with The Canadian Business Journal.
“Our policy is to keep our people for the long-term as much as possible. A large number of our personnel have been with us for 10-plus years, and a few in excess of 20 years,” Brugel said. “One of the things that is most unique about this dealership is the long-term staff, in all departments, particularly on the sales floor. Our long-term staff and our achievement of a high level of client service is what makes us unique.”
Quality staff means quality service
Customers develop a comfort and a relationship with staff that they see time and again at the dealership, which is why Markham Acura aims to retain its staff long-term. Brugel summarized, “It is an environment that we try to foster.”
Markham Acura also believes in fairness, to its customers and to the business itself. Brugel added, “If both our clients and ourselves are comfortable and satisfied with the agreements we make, our clients are happy, we are happy and everyone can enjoy “A Truly Outstanding Markham Acura Experience”. That, by the way, is our mission statement, to provide “A Truly Outstanding Markham Acura Experience”.
The staff is knowledgeable of its surroundings in that, with the dealership being in a diverse market such as Toronto, the team at Markham Acura is familiar with a variety of languages, customs, and practices, all in place to make the customer feel comfortable when browsing or buying.
With a long-term outlook, Markham Acura focuses on growing deep roots in its region, with the intent of developing long-term client relationships. It is not uncommon for the dealership to serve the customer and then subsequent generations of that same customer.
The location switch was made with the two dealers feeling the move would provide a good opportunity. In terms of Markham Acura, it means a new, permanent home for the dealership, complete with new real estate and a modern, elaborate facility. More generous space allows the dealership to display more than 20 cars in its showroom, while phenomenal dealer displays provide visibility from Highway 7 also adding to the positive points of the new location.
“Based on the physical structure, along with the staff and experience we bring, we will be able to service the community and do Acura proud,” Brugel said.
Attributing its success to its experienced staff, Markham Acura stresses good service and respect for its clientele. Markham Acura understands the importance of being a good community citizen.
“There are some things that are just lucky, so we have the privilege of being in such a good spot,” Brugel said of the dealership’s high-traffic location in the north of Toronto town. “You then take that and then develop a good reputation in the community.”
Ahead of the curve
Over the years, Acura refined its product and its operations to stay ahead of the curve, evident at Markham Acura. As a Japanese car model, the Acura brand experienced a setback when the tsunami and earthquake rocked Japan in March of this year. As Acura production was delayed, so too was product supply. But, by keeping a firm grip on the wheel, Markham Acura was able to stay productive during this period by focusing on its service business, as well as its pre-owned vehicle sales. Markham Acura persevered during this downtime, as it did previously when the economic downtown took its toll on the North American automotive industry.
“We maintained our staffing level because you can’t replace a staff member overnight who has 10 years of experience,” Brugel said. “We hunkered down and tried to do the best we can with what we had to work with it, promoted our used cars strongly, and we came through it.”
As was the case with many automotive brands, Acura was not exempt to the effects of the recession, but Brugel is fully confident that the company can regain and improve the footing it had previously in the automotive world. Markham Acura believes it can rediscover and surpass its previous volume levels through new products, further developing its relationships within the community, and in striving to become an iconic business in the Town of Markham, something it believes is probable when offering a good product and very attentive service. Brugel added, “We are not in this business for a week or a month. We are in this business for 40 or 50 years, so we conduct ourselves with that in mind.”
Regardless, Japanese-made cars are renowned for revolutionary advancement, and have led the way in terms of environmentally friendly offerings as well as excellent fuel efficiency ratings. Today, both remain ongoing initiatives for Acura. As one example, the first Acura hybrid model will be released in 2012, something the company is looking forward to with much anticipation.
“Our car products, for the most part, are at the upper level of fuel efficiency rankings and Acura has been at the forefront of environmental responsibility,” Brugel summarized.
Why buy Acura?
Today, Acura remains an attractive buying option for the consumer looking for a luxury brand without the luxury price or, as Brugel put it, “a product that provides extreme value in the luxury marketplace.”
“We probably provide more for less than any other car company in the luxury segment, and even more so than some companies that are operating slightly below the luxury segment,” Brugel summarized.
“Our styling tends to be a balance between cutting edge and conservatism, so it is styling with which people can be comfortable,” Brugel concluded. “Our cars perform and handle, and are designed for the individual who takes pleasure from the act of driving; an active driver.”
“As far as Markham Acura is concerned, we believe we will succeed and we believe that our strength is treating our customers with respect and dealing fairly with our customers. We have staff that are knowledgeable, experienced, and understand the product and the marketplace around them. We will continue to strive for improvement, by standing behind the service and products that we provide.”