Harbourview Volkswagen bucks the corporate dealership trend

Family-owned, family-friendly dealership celebrates 35 years in Nanaimo

Family-owned car dealerships are becoming rare, as the big traders buy up local dealers. Harbourview Volkswagen in Nanaimo is bucking the trend, as they celebrate 35 years operating as a family business.

“We’re one of the very last family-owned dealerships,” marketing manager Andrew Morrison said. “Most places around town have been bought up by one of the big auto groups.”

Morrison says their advertising tagline — “Harbourview Volkswagen, where you’ve been part of the family for 35 years” — is not just a slogan. It’s the key to the company’s attitude of customer service and community involvement.

Islanders have embraced Harbourview Volkswagen as a friend and neighbour, with clients from Victoria, Parksville, Ucluelet, Tofino, Campbell River and all over Vancouver Island. And they’re proud to serve third-generation customers in Nanaimo.

“We’ve got some customers whose parents and grandparents bought cars here so yes, we have a very loyal customer base,” Morrison said.

New facility is 100% carbon-neutral

After 35 years, Harbourview knows Nanaimo well, and knows what’s important to the people here. That’s why they recently opened a new, green facility that’s 100 per cent carbon neutral. The building’s power comes from a solar farm on the roof, and nothing is wasted—even the used motor oil supplements the heating system in the winter.

Their summer-long “Tropical Dealing Days” sale is another purely local initiative. “Every single vehicle is on sale, some for $10,000 off,” Morrison said, and the dealership is also giving away tropical vacation packages. While you tour the new facility and test-drive a car, they’ll wash your car for you. And on Saturdays they’ve got the barbecue fired up.

It all goes to show that a local outfit can do anything.

“A corporate dealership has to toe the company line to a great extent,” Morrison said. “As a family-owned business, our decisions are made right here. We have a lot of flexibility with what we can offer.”

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