The only Mercedes-Benz dealer in Winnipeg moved from Regent Avenue to Portage Avenue in 2000. Formerly known as Lone Star, it has been an independent in the luxury market with a fine product in their Mercedes car. They also do well with their Smart cars and a line of courier vans.
Their location on South Portage beside the Charleswood Bridge is quite packed with inventory. In 2000, dealerships along busy roads was the way to go. The big move to dealership parks was still somewhat of an exception.
In recent years, we have seen more and more car dealerships move to large car parks. We have also seen a lot of dealerships become part of massive multi -brand ownership groups. Just recently Landau Ford has been bought by one such group.
Some of the abandoned dealerships along main business streets have been taken over by independents with varying degrees of success and failure. Woodhaven Toyota was taken over by independent Winnipeg Hyundai. The old Birchwood GM dealership near the Charleswood bridge was taken over by Mercedes-Benz.
Given the marquee nature of the Mercedes brand, their dealership could be anywhere in the city and still attract Manitobans. However, the after sales service has become so important to any car dealer. Service and parts departments keep sales going and busy dealerships are profitable ones. It isn’t always new and used car sales.
With this in mind, Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg is moving to Kenaston for a site that is larger, meets more of the demands of today’s dealership and is closer to the people who often buy their cars.
Construction is already taking place on the corner opposite Goodlife Fitness on Kenaston. An office building is likely to share the corner with Mercedes in the near future.
The building along Kenaston is just another example of how the street is becoming one of the biggest commercial roads in the city. Unlike Portage Avenue though, it has no was of accommodating ever increasing traffic.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations