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Performance Kia Mayfield: A Group Effort

Autosphere » Dealerships » Performance Kia Mayfield: A Group Effort
Idris Malik, GM of Performance Kia Mayfield says he's excited to be at the helm of this new dealership. Photo Jack Kazmierski

Already a top-selling store, this Kia dealership is focusing on customer satisfaction.

Idris Malik started his automotive career 18 years ago. He began in sales, first with Honda and then with Jaguar Land Rover. In September of 2023, however, he was recruited to run Performance Kia Mayfield in Brampton, Ontario and is now the General Manager of this new store, which was built to reflect Kia’s new corporate image standards.

New to Kia, Malik says that he’s excited to be at the helm of this new dealership and selling a product that he firmly believes in. “I’m very impressed with the brand,” he says. “I feel like the brand is set up for success. With electrification, they have their feet planted on both sides of the business. They can offer electric vehicles, but they still have a very strong ICE lineup.”

Although the new store opened for business in September, surprisingly Malik says that he was brought in only a couple of weeks prior to the grand opening. That’s because much of the heavy lifting associated with opening a new location was already taken care of for him by the top-notch head office team at Performance Auto Group, which owns the dealership.

“We are up to 37 dealerships in all,” Malik says, “and they have their own onboarding team, their own acquisition team, and they’ve centralized many of the key functions that are necessary to run a successful store. Performance Auto Group even has their own in-house marketing team, which means we don’t have to work with a marketing agency. So by the time I was asked to take on the role of General Manager, the majority of the legwork was already done. The store was ready for business.”

The new 18,000 sq. ft. facility sits on almost five acres. Malik’s team includes six sales staff, two automotive technicians and two apprentices working in an air-conditioned and heated nine-bay shop, one service advisor, a parts manager, a parts advisor along and support staff.

The new 18,000 sq. ft. facility sits on almost five acres. Photo Jack Kazmierski

Already a top performer

Instead of a grand opening celebration, the new Kia store opened for business with zero fanfare. “Maybe we’ll do something in the spring,” Malik says, “but we just kind of opened our doors and started selling with the help of online marketing.”

This low-key start, however, did not hinder the new dealership’s success. “We were tied for the number three spot in sales volume in our first full month of October,” Malik adds. “So out of the 68 dealerships in the central region, we tied for third.”

One of the reasons for their success, Malik admits, was due to the fact that he had stock he could sell, while other stores were dealing with a lack of supply. “The other reason why we were so successful right out of the gate is because of the quality of our staff,” he adds. “Our brand new staff is willing to do anything and to go above and beyond for our guests.”

The entire sales team, Malik explains, is new to car sales, which means, “they don’t have any bad habits.” Moreover, they’re led by a strong sales manager, a seasoned used car manager, and Malik himself, with almost two decades of car sales experience. “Ultimately,” he adds, “we were able to rally the troops.”

The fact that his entire sales team is new to the auto industry is no accident. Malik says this hiring strategy was employed on purpose. “They come to us without preconceived notions or ideas,” he explains. “We don’t want them telling us that they’re used to doing things a certain way. We want them to be customer-centric and to embrace our purpose and values.”

The best candidates, according to Malik, come from the hospitality industry and from retail sales. “You could be a former hotel or restaurant employee or even an Apple Store employee,” he adds. “As long as you have the people skills, we can teach you how to sell cars.”

Performance Kia Mayfield was built to reflect Kia’s new corporate image standards. Photo Jack Jazmierski

Taking care of employees

While the hiring process is critical to the new store’s success, Malik says that all dealerships under the Performance Auto Group umbrella make employee satisfaction a priority.

“It’s all about taking care of the staff,” he says. “For example, the Group put together a gala event dedicated to employees who have been with them for over 25 years. In fact, I think one of their employees has been with them for 52 years.”

Besides Performance Group’s Annual holiday banquet, along with many events throughout the year with contests/prizes, every General Manager can also organize their own staff events, as well as team-building exercises, Malik adds.

The power of a group

The support Malik and other GMs get from the Performance Auto Group team is key to everyone’s ongoing success. “The average GM at a store that’s not part of our Group would have to negotiate with all sorts of vendors, as well as figure out co-op submissions, hire staff and tend to numerous other day-to-day management needs. But since we’re part of Performance Auto Group, a lot of this is managed by head office,” he says.

The support is there whenever a GM needs it, Malik adds, but each store is given enough flexibility to make decisions that will work for them. “The support is there when we need it,” he says, “but it’s up to each one of us to determine how we want to leverage the help we get from head office. Our primary focus is on our team and our guests.”

 

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