Real estate isn’t the only industry where it’s all about ‘Location, Location, Location’. For the past 35 years, the prime location for car shopping has been where Deerfoot and Glenmore Trails meet at the Calgary Auto Mall. Customers enjoy easy access from anywhere in the city thanks to its proximity to major arteries, making shopping or getting a vehicle serviced a breeze. Whether shoppers are looking at new cars or crossovers or shopping for a used SUV or truck, the convenient location and variety of brands represented there starts the car buying process off right. The central location makes it easy for customers to pop in to browse multiple dealerships at one time in between errands; it’s common for families to divide and conquer their to-do lists, reconnecting a few hours later to compare notes.
“Deerfoot Meadows has exploded in the last decade. All of the major commercial spots are right around the corner from us – Costco, IKEA, Nordstrom. You name it, it is in our backyard. This lets families come down and get everything they need to get done all in one day, which can include purchasing their brand new car,” says Christopher Tonkin, president and dealer principal of Straightline Motor Group and president of the Calgary Auto Mall.
The area has grown significantly since the late 1980s when dealerships started migrating from Macleod Trail to the new Calgary Auto Mall. Maclin Ford and Courtesy Chrysler became the first to establish their locations there in 1987 and others followed until it was completely built out around 1996. The Auto Mall has been home to the most popular brands, and as the market evolved and changed so did the dealerships operating there. Today, the Calgary Auto Mall employs about 500 people across the nine dealerships established there, running the gamut of top brands in the industry: Courtesy Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Maclin Ford, Brasso Nissan, Bow Mitsubishi, Jaguar Calgary, Land Rover Calgary, Mini Calgary, Precision Hyundai and Straightline KIA.
The dealerships are independent entities that come together on an Auto Mall board to ensure that the goal of providing an exceptional customer experience is carried through from the first dealership to the last. The board members collaborate on various initiatives, from marketing activities to snow removal and beautiful landscaping, from joint fundraising and charity events to giveaways to support the community that has given so much to them throughout the years.
“Among the Franchise Dealers in the Calgary Auto Mall, there is a true spirit of ‘coopetition’ where we work together for the benefit of our individual businesses and the community as a whole,” says Andrew Robinson, dealer principal at Precision Hyundai.
The group of dealerships also supports around a dozen important charities, donating at least $100,000 per year to great causes including Canadian Mental Health Association, the Calgary Food Bank, the Mustard Seed and KidSport.
“The core leadership that forms the Calgary Auto Mall committee is top notch. Such a great bunch of transparent and forward-thinking leaders, which is a testament to why our Auto Mall is top of most consumers’ lists to visit,” says Jonathan McPhee, general manager of Bow Mitsubishi.
To stay at the top, the dealerships have invested in updating their spaces to improve the customer experience as well as ensuring image compliance for their brands. Jaguar and Land Rover operate in brand new facilities and Straightline KIA completely bulldozed its old dealership in 2019 and rebuilt into an incredible up-to-date space. Dealers like Precision Hyundai, Bow Mitsubishi and Brasso Nissan also recently renovated their stores and Courtesy Chrysler completed a full front-end and showroom makeover.
Some of these renovations are in anticipation of the push toward hybrid and electric vehicles. All dealerships are expanding their EV product offerings to ensure they are on the forefront of the coming electric vehicle wave.
“Courtesy Chrysler has made a significant investment in the facility with a focus on Electric Vehicles. Infrastructure upgrades as well as rapid charge ports have Courtesy Chrysler ready for the future,” says Matthew Thorne, general manager of Courtesy Chrysler.
The knowledgeable dealership professionals can guide customers through the catalog of EVs and gas vehicles as they shop around within the Auto Mall. Many people drive in, park and then walk through the circle from dealership to dealership to test drive and compare the different makes and models before making a decision.
The dealerships have great selections of new vehicles and complete service departments to keep customers on the road. With new car shortages experienced across dealerships over the past years, the Mall’s impressive used car offerings are drawing more attention from shoppers as well.
“Each dealership will stock 50 to 70 pre-owned vehicles, so our Auto Mall has a total of 700+ used vehicles to look at, all in one location,” says Kirby Soon, managing partner of Brasso Nissan.
Whether customers are looking for new or used vehicles, all of the dealerships ascribe to low pressure sales techniques to allow shoppers to relax as they do their research. The Auto Mall dealerships are focused on providing a great experience for customers, and they know life can be stressful but buying a car shouldn’t be. While KIA calls this “Shifting the Experience,” all the Mall dealerships apply their own version of this fun, light-hearted and enjoyable process of selling a car. This positive customer experience is the foundation upon which the Auto Mall was built, and the dealerships have worked together from the beginning to make sure people have a great time while they shop for a great vehicle.
For 35 years, consumers have enjoyed the convenience and friendly service they find in the Calgary Auto Mall and the dealerships are proud to keep putting customers behind the wheel of their dream cars for 35 more.