An exclusive interview with Marc-André Sauvageau, general director of Denis Breton Chevrolet Buick GMC
During a year of Covid blues for a big sector of the Quebec business world, how did the car retail business do? I discovered surprising facts during my interview with Marc-André Sauvageau, general director of Denis Breton Chevrolet Buick GMC in Saint-Eustache.
About Denis Breton
Denis Breton is an ex-GM employee who switched to retail. He was first employed in manufacturing at GM but preferred to open this single dealership in Saint-Eustache which now celebrated 30 years in existence and satisfied customers. Denis Breton Chevrolet Buick GMC, located at 364 rue Dubois, in Saint-Eustache, embodies GM’s new Image concept. When Denis Breton bought the Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership in Saint-Eustache in 1991, he already had a very specific project in mind: to give this company a taste of the year 2000, to make it a leader that would serve as an example for the entire automotive industry. With fifteen years of experience at GM Canada, notably as zone manager for the Montreal region, he began by recruiting a group of dynamic people who shared his vision for the future. In 1996, Denis Breton found its current home located at 364 Dubois Street, along Highway 640. The new building, designed according to the standards of GM’s Image 2000 program, offers a large showroom that can hold up to eleven vehicles, a state-of-the-art indoor service area and a host of amenities focused on quality and efficiency. After surviving GM’s restructuring in 2009, Denis Breton renovated again and in February 2011 the completely new garage was inaugurated.
Covid and GM
As the pandemic hit, the entire business world passed in to a twilight zone period of uncertainty. M. Sauvageau confirmed that the dealership was fortunate not to be affected. “We are a lucky business sector. We stayed open initially with 4 mechanics for minor repairs but thankfully that did not last long. In 6 weeks, we reopened and we had an explosion of sales. People always need a car. However, we sympathize enormously with other sectors such as Restaurants, Arts & Entertainment and others who have been hard hit for 1 year.” said Sauvageau. The current curfew also did not have an effect since M. Sauvageau and his team had decided not to stay open late at night anyway. They used to close at 8pm and now they close at 6pm. “We found that as more and more people were working at home, most of our clients would visit the dealership during the day”. In terms of covid sanitation measures, the dealership went the extra mile to not only wash and sanitise each car before a repair and after but hired a full-time employee charged with maintaining the strict covid sanitation rules. The disinfection stations, Plexiglas between the salesmen and the customers and proper signage were all too prominent during my visit. Also, clients never form lines because most of the times they come by appointment.
Denis Breton lucky spot
The DG of Denis Breton, also spoke with great enthusiasm about the dealership being visited by Lady Luck twice within the last year and a half. One was one of their clients winning a Chevrolet Trax as part of the Canadian Tire Bon Depart contest and recently Yanick Bordeleau from Saint-Eustache who won a Chevrolet Trailblazer RS 2021 from the McDonalds Monopoly contest.
Pickups reign supreme
Marc-André Sauvageau confirmed that pickup trucks still remain very popular with Saint-Eustache residents. It is not only the fact that they are important tools for landscapers, in construction, agriculture etc, but there is a we love our pickup mentality prevalent outside Montreal. A lot of people use them to attach trailers and since the Laurentians are nearby, a pickup truck is the vehicle of choice when visiting the chalet. The DG is noticing a change of trend with a lot of people buying pickups that drive more like ordinary cars thus using them both as a working vehicle and as a family car. Small SUVs are also a favorite and a lot of people are replacing cars with this type of multifunction vehicle.
Rise of the electrics!
M. Sauvageau could not contain his excitement about GMs electric cars. With 25 electric cars sold he proudly announced that the dealership is the top electric car seller in the Greater Montreal area. Himself an owner of a Chevrolet Bolt for 7 years, Sauvageau testified to the unique features and reliability of the car as well as the positive response from his clientele. With 417 km of range, even after all these years of use and in the middle of winter the car still gives him 300 km per charge. For the hesitant clients Sauvageau confirms the 8-year warranty on the battery but even after, a lot of people having used the car for almost 10 years never had to change batteries while observing a very small drop in efficiency. Longevity is assured by GMs proprietary battery saving technology and Mr. Sauvageau mentioned examples of Bolts with 300,000 kms of use having lost only 5% of battery efficiency. A full charge of the battery costs only about $4.