By Chris Simon
NEWMARKET, ONT. – Look at the back of a car in northern York Region – there’s a fair chance Dave Wood’s name is on it.
The Newmarket car dealer, who has been selling automobiles since 1968, has sold his Mulock Drive Mazda dealership to NewRoads Automotive Group.
The sale was finalized in mid January. Financial details were not disclosed.
Wood began selling Mazda vehicles in 1980, noting he was initially attracted to their fuel economy, given the energy crisis that gripped North America in the 1970s.
“I was in the used-car business back then and to get anything small from a dealership, you had to buy three old, big lumps,” Wood said, sitting in his former office overlooking the Mazda showroom.
“Small cars were the direction because of the fuel prices.”
Wood will continue to operate the Dave Wood Pre-Owned used car lot, also on Mulock, as well as a leasing company.
“I decided it was time to take a step back and move on,” he said. “I’m very happy with (the NewRoads) philosophy and what I see. I’ll miss the people.”
Michael Croxon, president and CEO of NewRoads, said he is excited to acquire the Mazda dealership, adding that Wood has worked hard to gain a reputation for excellent customer service.
The dealership employs more than 35 people and only “tweaks” to the operation are expected.
“I wanted to amass automotive brands but be geographically specific with it and focus on the northern 905,” Croxon said of the store located roughly 45 minutes north of Toronto.
“When Dave approached me about acquiring the store, I was enthusiastic. It was an opportunity to extend our footprint. I’m obviously very familiar with Dave. One thing we do, as dealers, is look at the back of cars in the community. We see an awful lot of Dave Wood nameplates. You don’t see that if somebody’s not a really good operator. I knew we were purchasing a good dealership; their values are very much aligned with NewRoads, which will make the transition easy.”
Wood said the industry has changed substantially over the last few decades. Consumers are well informed now and often know more about some vehicles than sales associates.
“They look at reports and have totally researched the car,” he said. “In the old days, if your father bought a Ford, so did you. Kids today don’t want to buy their dad’s car; they buy what they want.”
NewRoads also operates Kia of Newmarket, NewRoads Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC and Richmond Hill Subaru.