The crew at Progressive Ford in Wallaceburg are staying true to their name, and are growing quickly at their 6975 Base Line location.
The business was purchased by Dan Whitton, the owner at Progressive Auto Sales in Sarnia, a year ago in February.
“We completely renovated the showroom, brought in staff… we have gone to a full service Ford facility,” said Jered Sweet, general sales manager at Progressive Ford. “There is 12 new bays being built starting May 20 this year.”
Sweet said Whitton started with the used car business in Sarnia and has grown to selling 100 cars a month at the Sarnia location.
“When he bought this place he approached me to come on board and basically we have been full speed ahead,” Sweet said.
Sarnia and Wallaceburg are like sister companies, he added.
“We help each other out but we are run as two individual companies. You can’t buy a new Ford in Sarnia but we could get you a used car and sell it to you here.”
Sweet said the Dresden Progressive Ford location will be closing.
“Once the facility is completed here, all the staff from Dresden will be coming here so nobody is going to lose their job,” Sweet said.
If the Dresden location was to remain open, they would have to spend $1 million to upgrade the facility.
“It’s just not feasible. It doesn’t make good business sense to do that. I think we can look after customers better under one location. It spreads ourselves too thin. Everybody under one roof is a much better service and sales experience,” Sweet said.
The Wallaceburg location will be full service, with the exception to their collision centre.
“We do not have a body shop. Full warranty, diesel, repairs, maintenance, and we have added a car wash so every time you come in for service you get a free car wash. We have expanded the showroom. It use to be a one car showroom and now we have a three car showroom,” Sweet said.
Sweet said the vehicles have been flying off the lot since they came to town.
“In new vehicles with Ford we saw an 186% increase here over the year 2014 and we weren’t here in January. So that was in 11 months… second nationally for dealerships in our size of market.”
Sweet said Progressive Ford has supported the local community as well.
“We donated $5,100 to the Salvation Army last Christmas. We donated $100 per vehicle in November and December to raise that. We do ride and drives throughout the community. We try to really focus any kind of donations or sponsorship directed to Wallaceburg and that was part of the deal with Salvation Army, is that they had to guarantee it would stay in town.”
Sweet said they are proud of their new building, and their approach to business.
“We didn’t build the Taj Mahal but we built something nice and comfortable. Our whole goal is we want people to feel comfortable about buying a car. We are really down to earth people, no administration fees in the dealership. No gimmicks. You won’t see us giving away barbecues or weekends away. We just focus on what we do. We pay the best for a trade in and that’s just what we do.”
Keeping local jobs is a priority for Progressive Ford as well.
“We kept all the employees with the exception that left on their own. That was important to us to keep people working and same when we close Dresden which will probably be in the early fall when the renovations are done. Everyone there has a job if they want it here.,” Sweet said.
Progressive Ford is located at 6975 Base Line in Wallaceburg.
They can be reached at 519-627-3400 or online at http://www.progressiveford.ca/
Here are some photos of the new-look facility:
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