A new location for Westline Ford is in good progress, with plans to be open in May this year.
The revamp is part of Ford Canada’s Millennium facility imaging program which started in 2004 and aims to update the 450 Ford stores nation-wide.
“They want all the dealerships to have the same image,” said Harvey Derksen, general manager and owner of Westline Ford Ltd.
“The idea is to raise our profile and make us look more modern, as well as offering an improved service experience,” he said.
The new building is located on the top of Prince George hill, right next to the new J & S restaurant and promises to be a bigger more impressive facility than its current location down town on Burrard Avenue. Derksen said they had the option of renovating at the location on Burrard Ave. but he decided a move to a highway location would be best.
“We have no space to expand here, the building is old and the location is wrong,” said Derksen, who took over the Ford Dealership in 2005 when it was Fox Ford.
He says they can’t reach their full potential in their current location and the new building, right on the highway will be seen by the drivers of some 9,000 cars that will pass by, every day.
“Nine thousand cars go by every day on the highway – and that’s actual car count right in front of the building,” said Derksen.
“So say possibly half of that is local traffic … it still leaves a huge amount of traffic from surrounding areas that we’re missing and that never see us here,” he said.
“The only way we can present ourselves here is if we advertise whereas at the new location it’s going to be point of sale – they see it, they like it, they’ll turn in and possibly they’ll buy,” he added.
The renovation of the building, which has had a variety of uses in the past, is a big job, wherever possible, he has used local labor and local materials.
Although the new location is expected to be open by the end of May, the paving of the outside area won’t be completed until the summer, when the weather permits.
The new location will also mean that overtime, the dealership is likely to employ more people due to a number of added services.
“ When we get to the new building, then maybe we’ll need anther sales person, maybe we’ll need another parts person, maybe well need a mechanic,” he said.
The new location means an expansion of the service department and they will also offer tire repair as well as other things that they haven’t been able to offer in the past due to expansion constrictions.
The new facility will also have an indoor showroom, and a lounge area with TV and all modern conveniences.
“People will be very impressed with the new facility and all the conveniences it will have – no more fighting for a parking spot,” said Derksen.
Renovations to the new building are being done as eco-friendly as possible, with low emission glass being installed, as well as a more efficient heating and cooling system and insulation upgrades.
“I’m very happy with it … the location is very good for us and the timing is very good for us – Ford Motor Company is right now the number one automobile seller in Canada for the first time in 50 years,” said Derksen.
“A lot of things look good for the future at Ford,” he said.