Change Automotive Group Ltd.
Three car dealerships
Primary market: Saskatchewan, Manitoba
Number of employees: 250
Trevor Boquist, CEO
Justin Reves, marketing manager
Driven to success
Like many entrepreneurs’ kids, Trevor Boquist, who is CEO at Driving Change Automotive Group, loves to talk about how he started in the business – though he admits he may have gone overboard. “I started when I was just 13 years old parking cars,” said Boquist with a smile. “During high school I did odd jobs. Then I started doing more meaningful work during summer holidays. You name it, I have done it in a car dealership.”
Today Driving Change Automotive Group operates three Ford dealerships in Western Canada, which market a broad selection of new and used cars, trucks and SUVs. These include Bennett Dunlop Ford in Regina, Saskatchewan, Carman Ford in Carman, Manitoba and River City Ford in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
It’s a tough industry. Automotive is in many ways a commodity business these days with marketing strategies dominated by price cuts and sales incentives. In this environment, the company’s sales staff’s effectiveness is crucial to its success. Boquist is thus constantly looking for new ways to help build their edge, ranging from investments in training to financing closer community involvement.
Driving Change Automotive Group has also had its share of luck. Ford was the only one of the big three North American manufacturers to emerge unscathed from the 2008 financial crisis. This positioned dealers well when recovery hit. Broader economic trends were also helpful. Automotive sales increased almost 10 percent during 2013 in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, driven by low interest rates, which are keeping customers’ monthly payments low.
Boquist who has four kids is also quite busy at home, though help could be on the way. His oldest Kelsey is 18 and has just begun her first year studying law at Carleton University. Boquist didn’t say whether he would offer her something more challenging to do this summer than parking cars.
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