Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 12

12
* AUGUST 2023
Rivian seeks an in-person touch
The physical locations still
require buyers to complete
their vehicle purchase online
By STEVE MERTL
VANCOUVER CORRESPONDENT
RIVIAN, WHICH MAKES HIGH-END ELECTRIC
SUVs and pickups, opened its first Canadian showroom
July 28 in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.
The move by the California EV maker marks a
change from a strategy that favoured largely online
contact with customers, said Denise Cherry, Rivian's
senior director of design and retail
development.
Cherry:
Spaces
showrooms
allow Rivian
" to put down
roots, " but
the purchase
process will
remain online.
PHOTO: LINKEDIN
The purchase process still won't
be conducted end-to-end in the
showrooms, which Rivian calls
spaces. The store will give the
brand more of a presence in the
community and provide customers
a better opportunity to interact
with the product and staff, she said.
" We did want a place to
put down roots, " Cherry told
Automotive News Canada.
The Burnaby location is one of
10 planned North American showrooms.
The first spaces opened in
New York in June.
Up to now, Rivian's in-person
contact with customers in British
Columbia was limited to a small
former Mini showroom where " customer engagement "
staff shared space with members of Rivian's
global software-development team.
'NEXT PHASE OF GROWTH'
The company also has a vehicle service centre in
suburban Richmond, south of downtown Vancouver.
Rivian chose the recently redeveloped Brentwood
shopping centre for its relatively central location
within Metro Vancouver.
Cherry likened the roughly 5,000-square-foot
(465-square-metre) space to two stacked glass boxes,
with the first level for display.
" The launch of Rivian spaces is a key part of our
next phase of growth, introducing retail sites as a
primary experiential touch point, " Tony Caravano,
Rivian's senior
director of customer
engagement, said in
a release.
The showrooms
will provide test
drives and Rivian
merchandise,
Cherry said, while
owners can get travel-planning
tips from
staff.
Rivian showrooms give the
brand a presence in the
community and provide
customers an opportunity
to test drive the company's
two models.
PHOTO: STEVE MERTL
Prospective buyers
can use augmented-reality
goggles
to examine Rivian
display models and
overlay different
colours and interior
options while inside
the vehicle.
Once a purchase
decision has been
made, the sales
transaction still
must be completed
online, said Rivian spokeswoman Miranda Jimenez.
Rivian joins Tesla, Lucid and VinFast as EV startups
that have Vancouver-area showrooms.
The Rivian R1T pickup starts at $109,000 and the
R1S SUV is $116,500, including taxes, fees and delivery
to a service centre for customer pickup. Home
delivery costs $1,400.
Future Canadian locations will depend on various
criteria, including market demographics and
the availability of charging networks, Cherry said.
Rivian plans to open vehicle service centres in
Calgary, Toronto and Montreal by the end of the year.
The company did not provide Canadian sales figures
since launching last year. At the end of the second
quarter, Rivian had delivered 41,838 vehicles in
North America since production began in September
2021. - ANC
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By JIL McINTOSH
OSHAWA CORRESPONDENT
KATE MATTHEW
IN CHARGE OF THE CASH
PROVIDED TO CHARITIES
IT'S A JOB MANY PEOPLE
would envy: As community relations
coordinator for Honda
Canada in Markham, Ont., Kate
Matthew gets to give away someone
else's money.
Specifically, she distributes
about $2 million each year from
the Honda Canada Foundation to
its charity partnerships.
" The funds come from our
member companies of Honda
Canada, Honda Finance and
Honda Manufacturing, " Matthew
said. About half goes to eight
national partners, including
the Canadian Red
Cross and Habitat
for Humanity, " and
the other half goes to
community grants
and local grassroots
all across Canada. "
Matthew is in frequent
contact with
the large partners,
finding ways to promote
and support
one another. For the
smaller grants, she
reviews about 1,500
applications a year.
" We have a system
for people to apply
[for funding] and I
read every one, " she
said.
" We have four pillars
of engineering,
environment, education and family,
so I see if [applications] fit
within these pillars and if they're
a registered charity. There are
no fancy algorithms, just me. " If
she feels it's a good fit, she forwards
it to a grant committee for
further approval.
The 43-year-old earned a
degree in environmental studies,
then became a buying coordinator
at a natural foods co-op. From
there, she worked in brand management
for a broker that distributed
natural foods to Canadian
stores from the United States.
Seeking a change and interested
in public relations, she joined
Honda in 2018, managing the
media vehicle fleet. She moved
into her current position in 2020.
" I'm interested in people
making an impact in their community, "
she said. " It could be
[someone] saving turtles or helping
educate kids about STEM.
They're so passionate, and I get
jazzed up about what they're
doing. There's so much need out
there, and it's so rewarding to
say, 'You got the funding.' "
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VERONIQUE ANDERSON
A FRESH PERSPECTIVE
SC 13120
TO DEALERSHIP BEST PRACTICES
CUSTOMER SURVEYS COVER
the good and the bad. In her role
as manager of customer experience
at Subaru Canada in
Mississauga, Ont., Veronique
Anderson addresses both, all in
the interest of continuous dealership
improvement.
" I take a look at the results
Led by the results of daily
surveys, Veronique Anderson
works to give customers more
of a hospitality experience at
Subaru dealerships.
PHOTO: AL QUINTERO
and work with the dealers to
pinpoint areas of opportunity
for them, as well as celebrating
the small and big victories, " she
said.
While dealers are different,
her national focus shows that
stores in similarly sized markets
usually face similar challenges.
" It's less about
regional ... so
we can share
best practices
that are working, "
she said.
" We don't
say everyone
needs to do X,
but if you're a
big metro dealer, your challenges
are similar to other big metro
dealers. "
Kate Matthew of
Honda Canada
doesn't use a " fancy
algorithm " when
deciding how funds
will be distributed to
charities. It's " just
me, " she said.
PHOTO: HONDA CANADA
A third-party vendor compiles
the daily surveys, and Anderson
goes over them each
morning. While
she's mostly in the
office, she meets
with dealers when
she can, either digitally
or in person, to
find opportunities
for improvement.
Anderson, 40, first
worked for a screening
company, obtaining
background
checks on behalf of
companies hiring
staff. She worked as
a marketing analyst
for a medical supply
company and joined
Subaru in her current
position in 2017.
Her lack of an
automotive background
is often an asset, she
said.
" It's about putting yourself
in the customer's shoes, and if
you've been in this for decades,
you can forget the intimidation
for a customer getting service or
the wonder of buying a car. The
experience matters because customers
have a choice " and will
drive as far as necessary to find a
dealer that will meet their needs.
Ongoing gradual improvements
are important, Anderson
said, because " an overnight fix
isn't necessarily sustainable.
We're promoting small changes
to processes that are probably
already good, but those little
things make a difference. "
- ANC
https://www.joeverde.com/Video-Joe-Verde-Automotive-News-4.html?sc=13120

Automotive News Canada - August 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - August 2023

Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 1
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 2
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 3
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 4
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 5
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 6
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 7
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 8
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 9
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 10
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 11
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 12
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 13
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 14
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 15
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 16
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 17
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 18
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 19
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 20
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 21
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 22
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 23
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 24
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 25
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 26
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 27
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 28
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 29
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 30
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 31
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 32
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