ExpoLAR Halifax show
By Terry Waterfield
Two years ago, when Leader Auto Resource LAR Inc. (LAR) celebrated its 25th anniversary, Canada’s largest car dealer buying group, looked for new ideas to bring them closer to their members.
The result was a series of seven trade shows in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, appropriately named ExpoLAR. Those trade shows proved so popular with LAR’s membership, the decision was made to hold them on a regular basis every two years.
LAR (Leader Auto resources), Justin Gallant, BBA (Territory Manager, LAR, Pointe-Claire, QC); Michel Bourgeois (National Director of Sales, LAR, Pointe-Claire, ON); Al MacPhee (President, MacPhee Pontiac, Dartmouth, NS); Robert B. Issenman, President and Chief Executive Officer, LAR, Pointe-Claire, QC)
So far in 2007, eight ExpoLARs have been held, with four in Quebec, one in Ontario and three in the Atlantic Provinces, with return trips to Moncton, NB, on May 15, and Halifax, NS, May 16, plus the addition of a show at St. John’s NL May 28 while additional shows are in the planning, including visits to New England later in the year.
During these events, LAR invited their suppliers to set up information booths to display their product and provide information to members in the area. Thirty suppliers took advantage of the opportunity to set up at the Moncton show, while there were twenty-eight booths at the Halifax show.
Running through the afternoon and evening, the events drew large crowds, gave LAR members the opportunity to meet with the LAR management team, learn more about the organization and as well, network with the large number of suppliers to become more familiar with their products and services. “We use this opportunity to get in touch with our customers,” LAR Robert B. Issenman, President and Chief Executive Officer of LAR said. “To get their comments for the new products and services, to get their evaluation on our service. “As usual, our customers are participating with great pleasure to these gatherings.”
View of one side of the displays
The success of the ExpoLAR concept has LAR considering expanding the program in the future, and plans are already being formed to take the show to New England in the fall of this year. According to Issenman, LAR plans to organize a round of ExpoLARS every two years. “As you can see, we travel to reach our customers in their area,” he added.
With over 1300 car dealers in their membership roster, LAR is North America’s largest car dealer buying group, covering Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada and New England. Their large membership base gives LAR immense buying power with suppliers, allowing the best possible prices for supplies and equipment, resulting in huge savings to the members.
In addition, LAR keeps a considerable inventory of most popular items on hand, allowing orders to be filled more quickly and also insuring the best prices due to bulk buying practices.
LAR’s service to their membership goes beyond the buying and distributing of products to their member car dealers. LAR’s staff stays fully informed in the latest products and services available to the car dealer market.
As pointed out on the LAR website, www.larnet.com, “Whether it is information on new or current products or specialized services, the answer is only a phone call away.” LAR also provides training for their members and staff, including seminars for F&I managers, advanced courses in bodywork, new technology, etc. LAR also has a full-time employee with more than 35 years in equipment technology to assist members in choosing the optimal solution in new equipment needs, taking into account requirements and budget, and can also arrange financing for equipment purchases.