A sharp pivot to video and other tools of digital retailing — along with a focus on communicating with customers — helped a Kia dealership in Newfoundland and Labrador thrive throughout the pandemic and ongoing inventory shortages.
Western Kia, in Corner Brook on the west coast of Newfoundland, increased its new-vehicle retail sales 15 per cent last year to 402 units, compared with 2019, while overall net income rose 46 per cent said General Manager Jacob Cluney. In contrast, national sales over the same period slumped 20 per cent, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center.
And through June, Western Kia’s sales were up 38 per cent compared with the same period in 2020. Across Canada, the increase was 33 per cent.
Last year’s performance earned Dealer Principal Michelle Melendy the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) 2021 Laureate Award for Retail Operations. It also helped the dealership identify strategies that will continue to be implemented after the pandemic subsides.
Western Kia is part of the Western Group of Companies, which also operates Toyota and Mazda stores. Corner Brook — a city of 32,000, 690 kilometres west of St. John’s — also is home to Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, Nissan, Hyundai and Honda dealerships.
ONLINE LIKE IN-PERSON
The core of Western Kia’s pandemic response: “Anything a customer can achieve here in our showroom, we want them to be able to do virtually as well,” Cluney said.