BMW-Mini Waterloo to move to Kitchener
Waterloo Region | August 25, 2010 | Chuck Howitt, Record Staff
After more than 10 years in the north part of Waterloo, BMW-Mini Waterloo is planning a move to a larger site on the east side of Kitchener.
Owners Reg and Steve Quinn of Toronto have purchased a site at the northwest corner of Victoria Street and Shirley Avenue near the Grand River and plan to erect a new showroom and service facility.
The new dealership is not expected to open until the spring of 2012, Pat Quinn, general manager of BMW-Mini Waterloo, said in an interview.
The project still has to go through the municipal approval process and the owners don’t want to start construction during the winter. With actual construction time thrown in, opening next year doesn’t appear to be in the cards, said Reg Quinn, the son of Steve Quinn.
BMW-Mini Waterloo has been located at 527 King St. N. in Waterloo near Conestoga Mall since 2000.
But its origins date back to 1973 when owner Helmut Kassik started selling BMWs out of a Fina service station on Erb Street.
Previously known as B-K Motors, it sold Minis, Volvos and Land Rovers as well. Kassik sold the adjacent Volvo and Land Rover dealership to son, David, in 2001 and then the BMW-Mini dealership to the Quinn brothers when he retired in the fall of 2007.
Kassik still owns the BMW-Mini site on King Street North. In an email, David Kassik said the family is exploring options for the property including leasing it to a non-automotive business, but no decisions have been made yet.
Pat Quinn said BMW-Mini has outgrown its Waterloo site. “Our business is expanding. We need a better facility to serve our customers.”
At 40,000 square feet, the new facility is twice as big as the Waterloo building and will provide enough capacity to display nearly 50 new and used cars indoors. The Waterloo facility had an indoor capacity of 17 vehicles.
With a staff of about 50, the dealership sells more than 700 new and used cars a year with BMWs outselling Minis by a ratio of four to one, Quinn said. It is the only BMW-Mini dealership in the Waterloo Region and Guelph area.
The Quinn brothers also own three dealerships in the Toronto area — Parkview BMW, BMW Toronto and Mini-Downtown.
A decision hasn’t been made on whether the dealership will adopt a new name when it moves to Kitchener, Quinn said. A naming contest may be held with customers.
Based in Germany, BMW’s market share in Canadian light vehicle sales is 1.6 per cent, while its subsidiary Mini has 0.3 per cent of the market, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.
I guess the east end is now where to buy your high end vehicles. Mercedes and now BMW
Stupid decision IMO. This area of Waterloo is establishing itself as a location with many vehicle dealerships, especially with the proposed Waterloo Auto Mall and the new Waterloo Nissan Dealership at Northfield & Parkside. Victoria Street is a dump, with that 60's era strip retail feel to it with shady motels, used car dealerships, abandonned gas stations, and random furniture and flooring stores. Land Rover, Jaguar Waterloo, and Parkway Lincoln are here on King Street North, and Fairview Acura will be joining them soon, so we can't entirely say there's no luxury car retailers in this part of the city...
I agree... Dumb decision in my opinion.
Keep in mind that the manufacturer must approve the site proposed and would not have if they didn't feel this site was not of benefit. This is a good decision for the same reason the Infiniti store in Guelph is located on the West end of that city... to help Infiniti sell into K-W. I would wager there are potential Guelph BMW sales lost to Mercedes because Victoria Star is easier to get to from Guelph. Those two brands are arch rivals, don't forget.
With BMW having no presence in Guelph, BMW of Mississauaga awkward to get to and both Budds' Oakville and Maranello in Vaughan a long way away, moving the dealership here allows access into that Guelph market without costing them local business. People will seek out and go to luxury retailers, whether they sell pianos or cars so they don't need to be in a good visibility area (until another local BMW competitor opens perhaps).
Service then becomes another issue and that needs to be made more convenient, especially with BMW offering free-of-charge scheduled maintenance for the first 4 years of ownership to all new car buyers. BMW customers are a lot less likely abandon the dealership like TripleQ did with the Infiniti but will still gripe about the inconvenience if they have to drive to North Waterloo or those other dealers so, factoring that into their decision they end up buing from Victoria Star.
BMW also has no plans to expand into Guelph with a store opening in Barrie and one in Surrey over the next 12 months then to be followed with a wait-and-see on expansion that could last many years. This is a business decision made for the long term and a good one.
Last edited by metropolis; 08-28-2010 at 11:34 PM.
Good decision. Although it means those nostalgic days of yore staring at the BMW's parked out front will be gone, at least coming into town from the stix....
Now this site should be medium density residential, perhaps 4s walkup townhouses with four or so 8s buildings with retail fronting King St? King St needs to be narrowed back to 4 lanes here as well. It's disgustingly suburban here.
I won't be able to hang out at the mall when my car is getting serviced...
This should be updated to U/C as it's definitely being built right now. They're looking at early 2012 move-in (doubtful).
Drove by the site yesterday. Amazing how quick it has gone up. Looks like a nice edition to the east side of Kitchener. I wonder if GRT will extend service as I believe they stop at Victoria Star and turn around.
I believe it was a good and smart thing for them to go to Victoia as Mercedes Benz is there so they are taregting there group of buyers in one area.
I think, if your going to buy a bmw or mercedes, you'll end up test driving both because there are in the same market.
Yes and it is nice real estate to be so close to the Grand and it is not congested on that end of town. The city will develop eastward as nothing left in the west.