BARRIE, ONT. — Demand for the relatively new Automotive Dealership Management program at Georgian College in Barrie, Ont., is exceeding expectations, leading to waiting lists and pop-up classrooms at airport hotels in Eastern and Western Canada.
The graduate certificate program is designed to help current and potential dealer principals and general managers already employed in the industry develop and upgrade their skills.
After two years of research, the 14-month, seven-course program launched as a pilot in February 2015. The inaugural class of about 25 graduated in June 2016.
Now, despite having three more class intakes underway, the school can’t meet demand.
It has three more intakes planned during the next 10 months, including one in Halifax marking the first time the course will be offered in Atlantic Canada. Each course has a maximum of 35 students.
“People who have gone through it are starting to talk,” said Joe Lauzon, marketing director for the Automotive Business School of Canada. “I haven’t even advertised the one for February in Toronto and we’re full, with a waiting list.
“We have to figure out how we’re going to scale this to the demand of the Canadian market ... where we need to run it and how quickly.”
Prior to the development of the Georgian program, dealerships sent their general managers to schools in the United States, including the National Automobile Dealers Association Academy in Virginia.