For others, it would be transformation. For John Hairabedian, whose father, Greg, launched Canada’s first used-car superstore in 2003, changing the nature of auto retailing is tradition. The younger Hairabedian’s technology-driven sales strategy powers the Quebec-based HGregoire group, now encompassing 28 new- and used-vehicle stores across eastern Canada and Florida. And it’s growing. “We see ourselves as an Internet company and a startup that happens to be in automotive retail,” said the 27-year-old Hairabedian, who was 23 when he took over the family business in 2014.
From pricing logarithms developed by staff analysts, to an in-house remarketing division, HGregoire closely controls every step of the business. And if some of its approaches emerged elsewhere — no-haggle pricing and cars-by-subscription, for instance — its seamless integration of best practices and focus on removing “friction” in the car-buying process could be key strengths in an industry in rapid evolution.
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
“One day I got a call from my father. He asked me if I was interested in joining HGreg and if I wasn’t, he would sell the family business. ... I thought about it for half a minute. I knew I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work with my hero, my dad.”