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Meeting the start-up team and checking out the latest home for Porsche
Story by Randy Gananathan, Provinz Editor (from April 2017 Provinz page 24)
I had the privilege of meeting the start-up team recently at their temporary location in an office building next to the dealership construction site at 165 Yorkland Road.
John Cappella is the Managing Director of Porsche Centre North Toronto—PCNT. He left his position as Director of Network Development at Porsche Cars Canada Ltd., where he was the person responsible for dealership planning and development across Canada, to start up this new venture on March 1st, 2016. He walked into an empty temporary office with just the carpeting on the floor and began the process of setting up the entire dealership from buying desks to dealing with all of the construction elements to hiring the team.
His first hire was Dilreet Kaur-Kurl, Controller, responsible for the financial operations and his second hire was Shereena Robinson, Human Resources Manager. This team of three began the process of defining the structure of the dealership within the definitions of the Porsche network requirements and began implementation of the plan to now be able to open the doors to the Greater Toronto Area’s 4th Porsche Centre.
This new dealership follows the iconic design of all Porsche Centre’s worldwide that are immediately identified even if the logo isn’t quickly visible when driving past. Its Porsche identity is made up of just one word and the badge. It will be clearly visible to the millions of travelers crossing the intersection of highways 401 and 404 from all directions to make the bold statement that Porsche is here for all drivers in the GTA.
The showroom’s design concept focuses on the car. The key design element being 2.4 meter high glass panels of the showroom sweeping around the building in an arc similar to the curves of the road the cars are designed to be enjoyed on. Even at night, the brilliantly lit Porsches parked inside are clearly visible through these glass panels to passersby, providing eye candy in their various colour finishes.
Daytime visitors will be able to examine colours and finishes in full colour rendering due to brand new design elements being incorporated into this showroom. Careful placement allows more natural light through a wider glass entrance and a skylight that’s full length, bringing the outdoors inside, showcasing all displayed cars in a greener sunlit ambiance.
The entire showroom experience is structured to give visitors a complete immersion of the full model line-up without the clutter of sales desks or offices. It is designed to be warmly welcoming to everyone that enters the showroom to be greeted by the reception team and assisted by the extended team around them. The goal being to make every customer relax, enjoy the shopping experience and be fully informed of every technical to meticulous design and creature comfort feature built into Porsche products. So much goes into the careful design of a Porsche that almost “anything found in a Porsche is there for a reason” said John, “either for performance, safety or pure enjoyment. With Porsche, form follows function. The same holds true for the Porsche Centre North Toronto facility.”
Matthew Tam, Sales Manager. Fascinated with cars at a very young age, Matthew began his automotive career in late 1998 and soon reached the spot of being one of Canada’s top three salespersons with Acura. He started in sales at Toyota, moved to Acura, then to Infiniti where he worked for 12-years and ranked #1 Grand Master, the most coveted status there, before going to BMW in 2012 for four years and finally joining Porsche Centre North Toronto in October 2016. Born and raised in Toronto, Matthew speaks Cantonese and English. Matthew married his high school sweetheart whom he sold a Toyota to in his first job, within two months in the car industry. Matthew and his wife have a six year old daughter and four year old son. Matthew’s stated goal is to ensure that every customer leaves completely satisfied with their purchase experience at Porsche Centre North Toronto to the point of being able to share their positive feedback with family and friends or even via social media. An experience he aims for his team to provide that is more akin to a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons immersion than what competitors in the automotive industry aspire to. Being a highly technical “car guy” with some racing under his belt, Matthew is looking forward to building strong relationships with his clients. Plus he enjoys talking about cars with everyone he meets. A true car guy to the core!
Jerry Liu, Sales Executive joined Porsche Centre North Toronto just days before I interviewed him in February 2017. Jerry has been with a BMW dealership in Kitchener/Waterloo Region since 2011 and has always been a car guy from his childhood. He came from Mainland China on his own to attend college in Canada and always dreamt of joining the automotive industry, long before he came to Canada. Upon completion of his degree in York University, there was no question in his mind about what he wanted to do, so he applied to automotive dealerships and joined BMW where he was one of their top sales team members prior to moving up to Porsche Centre North Toronto.
Lorrie Kwong, Financial Services Manager got her first taste of the automotive industry with a Mazda dealership in 2005. She then progressed into a Sales Consultant role at that same dealership in 2008 before moving to another Mazda dealership in 2009, where she moved up to the Financial Services Manager role in 2010. In 2012 Lorrie entered the luxury automotive business by joining a BMW dealership as their Assistant Sales Manager and then the New Car Sales Manager. She returned to the Financial Services Manager Role at BMW in 2014 and joined a Mercedes-Benz dealership in 2015. Lorrie joined the Porsche Centre North Toronto team in February 2017. Lorrie is fluent in Cantonese and English. Her favorite part of client interaction is really understanding each customer and finding a financial plan that best suits their needs.
Steve Breley, Parts Manager began his career as the lot guy and detailer at an Acura dealership in 1992. Within the same dealer group, he worked for Honda and Nissan progressing to parts counter, tower operator, occasional service advisor and eventually parts manager. Steve joined a BMW dealership as parts manager in 2005, he then moved to Landrover/Jaguar, until returning to BMW in 2012. Steve joined Porsche Centre North Toronto in late 2016 and brings the experience of working with the inside service teams as well as independent workshops to provide excellent parts support to all Porsche customers.
Joe Nash, Service Manager joined a small Volvo dealership in 1992 as parts delivery driver and lot guy and worked his way up to the role of Parts Manager. He then moved to a Volvo dealer that was part of a large Toronto dealer group, he worked at various European luxury brands within the group as a Parts Manager, Fixed Operations Manager, and Service Manager, most recently at that group’s Volvo and Audi divisions before joining Porsche Centre North Toronto in December 2016. Joe is keen to build a service team whose total years of experience will amp the credibility of the workshop to be able to handle every Porsche from the earliest to the newest car that comes in for repairs.
Adriano Bernaudo, Marketing Specialist joined a VW dealership in 2007 as a Sales Team Assistant while completing his post-secondary education. Upon completing his Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Marketing Management at Ryerson University he continued to pursue his passion in the automotive industry by joining a leading leasing group in the GTA in 2012. Adriano then moved into a marketing specialist position and progressed up into the world of corporate automotive marketing with Mercedes-Benz Canada as an Interactive Marketing Specialist in 2015. Adriano joined the startup team at Porsche Centre North Toronto in October 2016 and is responsible for all of the marketing efforts of the dealership from events to social media to advertising.
A visit to the very posh Revs Institute in Naples, Florida
Story and Photos by Doug Switzer, Provinz Art Director (from April 2017 Provinz page 18)
You can call me old-fashioned. I am. That’s why I like to race vintage cars and I get all misty-eyed over fine, old analogue machinery while all the current and latest whiz-bang gadgetry on wheels leaves me cold. So, on a recent trip to southwestern Florida, I indulged my appetite for cars that at least theoretically, I could actually work on and understand, and went to an interesting and delightful museum.
In spite of the midweek traffic, a beautiful, sunny day made the almost 2-hour drive down from Sarasota to Naples quite enjoyable. Upon reaching Naples we followed our directions into an upscale but kind of nondescript industrial area where we came upon the equally nondescript, almost windowless low building with a simple low sign out the front that said “The Revs Institute for Automotive Research”. Once we entered the building and were greeted by a very cheery woman at the check-in, our pre-ordered tickets were scanned and we were given programs and pointed on our way. The lobby was impressive with a trio of red sports cars straight ahead on the raised landing above the ground floor. To our right was a Ferrari 250 LM and to our left a very tidy Lotus Elite and a McLaren F1. This is a promising start!
Beyond the Ferrari is a sign over a doorway that simply states “Porsche: Designed to Excel” … and beyond that, an Aladdin’s cave of historical Porsches.
Gazing down the subtly lit gallery you can take in— almost all at once, Porsche’s racing history from just after WW2 to the late 60’s. There’s 550 coupes, spyders, various versions of RS racers and even a beautiful Porsche/Elva and street versions of some of Porsche’s most coveted creations. Rounding the right turn at the end takes you into the realm of the 906, 910, 908LH, 917’s and other exotic machines of the 70’s.
All the cars are presented in a spotlessly clean environment with dramatic lighting and although some of the racers are presented in their “as-raced” condition, this just adds to the authenticity.
Apart from the wonderful collection of Porsches, there are several more galleries filled with other mechanical wonders. There’s a section dedicated to automotive nobility: Bentleys, Roll-Royce, Packard, Duesenberg, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Bugatti, Stutz, Mercedes and Isotta- Franchini. There’s another area housing sports-racers along with some American icons of motorsport like the super-rare Corvette Grand Sport, one of 5 built. A Scarab sports-racer and a pair of Ford GT40 Mk2 LeMans contenders occupy adjoining spaces.
Oh, and those 3 red sports cars in the lobby? Another Porsche 904, an Abarth Coupe and an Alfa-Romeo TZ Zagato coupe! You climb the stairs past them (or take the elevator) to the second floor and find yet another couple of interesting Porsches in the Racing Cars and Racing Men Gallery. There’s another 550 Coupe in Carrera Panamerica trim and an intriguing Behra-Porsche Formula 2 car that’s nestled in with a pair of John Cooper’s Formula cars. Also of note are the ancient Mors Grand Prix cars, yet another Bugatti that’s unrestored and a Ferrari-Lancia as well as a mighty Mercedes W154 and a mid-sixties BRM F1 car… it all just seems to keep coming! There’s a wonderful mid-sixties Eagle Indy car and a late 70’s iteration as well. The last car we saw in the racing gallery is an Arrows Formula one car. It’s also fitting that there’s several landmark engines on display throughout the buildings and the whole collection is really breathtaking both in its scope and presentation.
Brian Redman said the 908LH was so fast and such a handful it “scared him stupid”. Regardless, they won with it at Spa.
If you are in the Southwest Florida area, do take it in, but be forewarned, you can’t just pitch up at their door and expect to get in. To keep the crowds and reserved group tours under control, they require you to pre-book, which is easily done online through their website at https://revsinstitute.org/