By Amitabh Saxena
The year 2005- A struggling Ford store in Ontario is taken over by a new management.
The year 2006 – Yonge-Steeles Ford Lincoln becomes Canada’s largest Ford dealership by volume.
The year 2016- Yonge-Steeles Ford Lincoln becomes the highest seller of F-150 Trucks and of FORD EDGE in the world.
How did this happen? Weekly Voice spoke to Anil Chopra, the affable General Manager and the man responsible for this spectacular growth.Excerpts:
WHO WOULD YOU CREDIT FOR THIS INCREDIBLE SUCCESS?
AC: Teamwork and Customer Focus!! We took over this store in November 2005, when the previous owners declared bankruptcy after consistently losing 2 million dollars.Since day one, our focus was on teamwork built on the concept of hospitality from back home in India.
IS THERE A FORMULA OR SECRET SAUCE BEHIND YOUR SUCCESS?
AC: No, there is no formula no sauce.My guiding motto has always been,” ATITHI DEVO BHAVA “or Guest is like a God.We never lost focus on treating the customer like a God.
WHO WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR INSPIRATION?
AC:I firmly believe in something Gandhi ji quoted many years back..”A Customer is the most important visitor that you can ever have.You are dependent on him.He is not the interruption but he is the purpose of your existence.
ANY COMMENTS ABOUT THE CHALLENGES THAT YOU FACED?
AC: As a country, Canada is an organized place for business with discipline and nicest people.However, I felt that there was piece missing which was, humbleness.Businesses here were less humble than what I had seen back home.
HOW DID YOU COUNTER IT?
AC: Absolute humbleness was what I asked from all members of my team and that’s the reason why we sell 600 vehicles a month as compared to 50-60 vehicles that others do.Our dealership firmly believes and prominently displays the caption: With us….You will drive away with a smile.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY AS A ‘ FORD MAN’ ?
AC: I came to Canada 35 years back from New Delhi.My first job was with Ford and here I am, still with Ford.When I was a salesman, I was the highest selling salesman in the country and when I was managing a store, I always achieved highest volumes in the country.The company entrusted us with taking over struggling stores and turning them around.And we always managed to do that.However, it would not have been possible without a great team and I am proud of the fact that most of my team members have been part of my journey for long periods of time.
AND NOW YOU ARE SELLING MORE F150s AND EDGE THAN ANYBODY ELSE IN THE WORLD. A PROUD MOMENT?
AC: Oh Most Certainly! In the 120-year-old history of Ford Motors, this is the first time that a Canadian dealership has become number 1 in the world.And that too in Thornhill which is not considered a Truck terrain.So, we are obviously doing things in a right manner!
WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING?
AC: I started my Ford journey back in 1982 and I now at 58, I still put in 90 hours a week.What keeps me going is the fact I have served three generations of the same family: grandfather, father, and his son.Their hugs and words of appreciation each time they came here for servicing their vehicle make the whole 35-year-old journey quite worthwhile.I keep a small picture of my first customer above the doorway to my office.She makes me realize each day, where I started from and where I have reached.She too keeps me going.
ANY PARTING WORDS?
AC: To quote our Indian PM, Narendra Modi ji, ” Harvard Degree may take you to the doorstep of success but only Hard work will you a truly successful person.