The Morris Automotive Group, headed by Pat Morris, President, includes Subaru of Charlottetown, Experience Hyundai, Discover KIA Charlottetown & Summerside, and now Anchor Toyota of Stellarton, Nova Scotia. The latter dealership was acquired in March 2017.
“We started with six employees at Discover KIA Charlottetown in 2000 and now the group has over 100 people employed in five dealerships,” says Kent MacLeod, General Manager of Discover KIA and Dealer Partner of the Morris Automotive Group.
“The dealerships have six departments: Sales, Service, Detail Prep, Parts, Finance and Administration. It is a diversified staff with Managers in each department, along with Technicians, Salespeople, Service Advisors and Parts Clerks.
“We are busy all the time,” says Kent. “March to October are typically our busiest months in Sales, but our service departments are always busy keeping cars safe and reliable for our customers. They too have peaks during tire changeover seasons in the spring and fall.”
Kent says the automotive sector is an excellent industry to be involved in. “Positions in Sales, Finance or Parts/Service are available, and salaries are quite competitive with other industries, maybe even higher.
“We have been working with the PEI Automobile Dealers Association by visiting Holland College and the high schools with materials to educate students who may be thinking about choosing a career. We are trying to promote the automotive industry as an option to consider.”
Range of opportunities
“We have summer student placements and on-the-job training for Holland College and high school students,” Kent says. “Usually those positions are in our detail shop or driving our courtesy shuttle. The shuttle service is very busy.”
Kent started his own automotive career as a Technician over 30 years ago. After gaining experience, he moved to Service Manager, Fixed Operations Manager, and eventually General Manager and a Dealer Partner.
“Our dealerships are only as good as our staff. We strive to promote them into various departments and advance them to higher paying positions and then to management. When we have a position open, we try to hire from within if possible.”
Difficult job to fill
“Highly skilled Technicians and Sales people are hard to find. We strive to treat them well, and give them factory training and support. Team work is our primary focus. In fact, we are just a big family. We have a very low turnover rate which, in my opinion, shows they are happy working within our group.”
Customer service matters
Sales staff receive in-house training, and, depending on the manufacturer, some off-Island training, which is paid for by the Morris Automotive Group. Sales people must have an extensive knowledge of the new technology available in new models, such as blind spot detection, Bluetooth, back up camera systems, etc. We want our customers to know what is available to them and how it operates.”
“Our primary focus is customer service and the experience they receive within the dealerships, whether it’s in Sales, Service or Parts. Selling the car is the start of the process. It is a full circle of different departments helping the customer through the ownership cycle of the vehicle.
“We strive to make the experience exceptional, which hopefully results in selling our customer another car. We rely on customer referrals and even offer rewards for customers who send their friends or family members in to see us for their new or pre-owned car purchase.
“We are always looking to hire good people who have the desire to succeed and a great attitude, especially when it comes to customer relations.”
The Morris Automotive Group posts employment openings in newspapers, the Job Bank and Facebook. Discover KIA, Subaru of Charlottetown and Experience Hyundai all have their own websites and Facebook and Twitter pages.
“We have a full-time Social Media Manager who looks after all those sites,” Kent says. “We created that position because we realized that social media was playing a larger part in how people shop for cars and review dealerships. Adam Ramsay, our Manager, does a great job staying engaged with our customers online.”
The selection process comes down to three candidates who can expect two interviews each. “The Manager of the department and the General Manager conduct the interviews. We ask why they applied for the position, their long-term goals, and what they would bring to the group to help themselves and the dealerships succeed.”
“We are constantly growing, and positions open up with growth,” Kent said. “We owe our growth to our loyal customers over the last 17 years and our dedicated employees.”
For more information:
- Discover KIA Charlottetown: call 902-894-4069 or toll-free 1-866-894-4069. Visit www.discoverkia.com.
- Discover KIA Summerside: call 902-724-4542 or toll-free 1-855-724-4542. Visit www.discoverkiasummerside.com.
- Experience Hyundai: call 902- 569-2277 or toll-free 1-866-818-2277. Visit www.experiencehyundai.com.
- Subaru of Charlottetown: call 902-367-7800. Visit www.subaruofcharlottetown.com.
- Anchor Toyota: call 902-752-4171 or toll free 1-877-752-4171. Visit www.anchortoyota.ca.