Dealership groups and shopping malls, both beset by the explosion in online retail, are joining forces in a “win-win” bid to reap the benefits of locating auto retail stores at major centres.
In April, Ontario’s Pfaff Automotive Partners opened a 53,000-square-foot (4,900-square-metre) Porsche dealership within steps of the CF Markville Mall in Markham, just outside Toronto.
In Alberta, Prestige Auto Group plans to move its flagship Mayfield Toyota store into the West Edmonton Mall, one of Canada’s major tourist attractions, by September.
“We’re essentially a big marketing arm for Toyota,” said Daniel Person, vice-president of specialty leasing and partnerships at West Edmonton Mall, which draws about 32 million tourists and shoppers annually. “This gives them the ability to reach customers and sell them their products. We just see this as a complete winwin.”
The move will make Mayfield Toyota the only full-service dealership inside a shopping centre in Canada, Prestige Auto said.
The six-building dealership, which opened in 1999, was looking to expand, said Prestige CFO Saleem Budhwani.
“Organically, we kept on growing, but this is a better solution because everything is under one roof,” Budhwani said. We “thought it was a good fit, so we went for it. It’s a better location and a better draw.” Mall anchors, such as department stores, “aren’t what they used to be in retail,” Person said. “We see them [Mayfield Toyota] as an engine that will actually develop traffic for us as a service offering.”
MALLS STILL DRAW