OTTAWA, ONT. – Ask Shiv Dilawri to rhyme off what he likes best about his new store, Kia on Hunt Club, and his list starts and ends with the dealership’s dimensions.
“It’s huge,” he said with a laugh. “I love how big it is.”
Not really a surprising answer from the man who now owns Canada’s largest Kia store and happens to be a part of the most famous family in Canada’s dealer body.
Dilawri cut the ribbon on his new Kia on Hunt Club in early June. The $16 million Ottawa-area store is his second Kia franchise (along with Bank Street Kia) and seventh rooftop overall. (He also owns Bank Street Hyundai, Dilawri Jeep Dodge Chrysler, Bank Street Mazda, Bank Street Mitsubishi and Hyundai on Hunt Club).
At 49,000 square feet, the Hunt Club location takes over as the largest in size amongst Kia’s 185 stores. Sitting on a three-acre plot, it boasts 19 bays in the service department and a 7,000-square foot parts department. Perhaps most of note – and certainly Dilawri’s favourite element – is the 147-car indoor showroom.
The indoor inventory is prepped and cleaned so a customer can come in, peruse the options and drive away in their new purchase inside of two hours.
“Having so many cars indoors, especially when winter comes, will be great. We don’t have to worry about snow plowing or keeping the cars clean in the winter. Showing a car to a customer in minus 25-degree weather is not fun. Now customers can come in and, if they like something, the can buy it and drive away in two hours.”
Construction started on the store in January 2013 and officially opened for business last November. The harsh winter precluded the addition of some finishing touches and it took until early June to get everything in place.
“We haven’t even started marketing the store yet,” he said, noting they will be highlighting this new concept to shoppers about coming in, browsing the inventory, buying a car and taking possession within a few scant hours.
And it’s not just the borders that are large with Kia on Hunt Club. Dilawri said he is also aiming to take over the top spot in volume sales among the brand’s dealer network.
Jack Sulymka, Kia Canada public relations and corporate partnership manager, confirmed the current leader in Kia volume is Albi le Geant in Mascouche, Quebec. That store retailed 1,426 units in 2013.
Dilawri said his three to five-year plan would hopefully see Hunt Club sell 2,000 new vehicles annually. He is hoping to retail 900 cars this year from the new point.
The store is also one of Kia’s 34 stores in the premium dealer network meaning it also retails K900 and Cadenza.
The ambition doesn’t stop at sales goals, either. He revealed work is scheduled to start on a new Mitsubishi dealership in September in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans. He is also planning to open another four to five dealerships in Barrhaven, an area southwest of Ottawa.
Dilawri, whose cousins own stores clear across Canada including the largest privately held group, Dilawri Group of Companies, said his goal is to dominate the Ottawa market.
“We have four stores on Bank Street, three on Hunt Club, now one in Orleans and plans for Barrhaven. By doing that, we cover Ottawa east to west and north to south. In Ottawa, when people think about buying a car, we want them to think about Dilawri.”