LANGFORD – When the Harris Auto Group turned the key to open their new Harris Victoria Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in May, even they were surprised at how fast it roared to life from the starting line.
Featuring B.C.’s first Jeep showroom, the 36,000 square foot Harris Chrysler Jeep on 4.5 acres beside Lowe’s on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, and is Langford’s first official full-service auto dealership. The second floor is headquarters for the Harris Auto Group, which operates eight dealerships in British Columbia, most of them on Vancouver Island.
“The reception has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Craig Sabourin, President and co-owner of the Harris Auto Group. “We are seeing a lot of new customers in our service and parts departments, and we really didn’t anticipate that large of a reception. Our sales department is thriving, which we believe is us being based in a more convenient location for past and new customers.”
Prior to the opening of the new Langford store in May, Harris Chrysler had been located in downtown Victoria at the corner of Yates Street. There, the Harris Auto Group purchased the former Ensign Chrysler dealership in 2012.
“We’ve been discussing the opportunity to move to Langford, and we put the plan together three years ago,” Sabourin recalls. “We recognized that to serve our existing customers and our growing customer base, we needed to relocate to a newer, more modern facility to better serve their needs.
“We realized very quickly that Langford was the right location to build that new larger facility. Mayor Stew Young as well as the rest of the staff at the city of Langford have been incredibly accommodating during the construction process, and even after we’ve moved in, they’ve been incredible.”
Sabourin is particularly enthusiastic about the dealership’s Jeep showroom and its reception with customers.
“The Jeep line-up is doing extremely well,” he states. “The electric Jeep Wrangler has arrived, and we can’t even keep them in stock, but we have lots more coming in. We have a large inventory of Ram trucks on the ground, and people have been coming into buy them every day. We still have a demand for more of that product.”
Sabourin knew the Victoria vehicle market was hectic when Harris entered it, but they’ve been pleased with the dealership’s performance.
“We knew it was a competitive market, but Chrysler is an incredible brand that serves so many clients with our offerings, including Jeep. We continue to believe there’s a brand for everyone out there.”
The Harris Auto Group’s commitment to its staff has also been a reason for the dealership’s success.
“We put our employees first and look after their needs,” he states. “We believe that if we can look after them and make happy employees, then they’ll look after our clients and make them happy. That has always been our motto.”