Birchwood acquires rural Manitoba Chrysler store


Myron Love

STEINBACH, MAN. – Steinbach Dodge Chrysler, one of Manitoba’s oldest Chrysler dealerships, is under new ownership.

As of Dec. 1, the 80-year-old fixture in Steinbach in southeastern Manitoba has become the newest member of the Birchwood Auto Group.

The new acquisition brings the total number of brands under the Birchwood banner in Manitoba to 19 (at 14 locations) and continues a Birchwood Auto Group effort to grow the business outside of Winnipeg.

Within in the past couple of years, the Birchwood Group has also acquired the Nissan store in Brandon and the General Motors store in Cavalier, North Dakota.

Steinbach, Manitoba’s fastest-growing community is located about a half hour drive southeast of Winnipeg. The community of roughly 13,500 people, home to six new car dealerships, has long branded itself the “Automobile City.”

Steinbach Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram had been in the same family ever since A.D. Penner founded the business in 1937. Penner was joined in business in 1961 by his son-in-law, Jim Neustaedter who became president of the company in 1971.

For the past few years, Penner’s grandson, Paul Neustaedter, has been the dealer principal.

Birchwood president Steve Chipman said he and his team had been in negotiations with Neustaedter for about a year.

“My understanding is that Paul wanted to pursue some community initiatives and charitable work,” Chipman said. “Paul and I are aligned in terms of our family values and involvement in community.

“Steinbach Chrysler staff (which numbers 32 full time employees) has given us a warm reception. They are a good group of people. We are not planning any changes.”

Robert Dueck, he added, will stay on as general manager.

The deal also includes Steinbach Chrysler’s sister store, Fiat of Steinbach. The dealership acquired the Fiat franchise seven years ago.