Go Auto is comprised of 50+ dealerships, multiple repair and service centers, several reconditioning facilities, in-house finance and insurance departments, a loyalty and rewards program, and more.
...there was the Mike Priestner Auto Group (MPAG). Mike began his journey back in 1996 with the purchase of Kentwood Ford. Many years have since passed, and Kentwood Ford has continued to be the backbone of our business. Two years later, MPAG acquired Peace River Ford, its second Ford dealership, and first dealership outside of Edmonton.
MPAG purchased Edmonton’s Southtown Chrysler, and with that purchase, MPAG welcomed three noteworthy brands into its business: Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep.
At the turn of the new millennium, MPAG purchased two additional dealerships. It added its very first import branded store, Southtown Hyundai, as well as a second Edmonton Ford dealership, Team Ford.
Focusing on domestic makes, MPAG acquired Yellowknife Chrysler in the Northwest Territories, Nelson Ford in British Columbia, and St. Paul Dodge, which is located approximately two hours east of Edmonton.
Land Rover Edmonton, now Jaguar Land Rover Edmonton, joined the MPAG. Jaguar, our second luxury brand, would have to wait another three years to join the group.
In 2006, MPAG acquired Columbia Chrysler, located in Richmond, BC, our first Vancouver store. It was the fourth Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep location and the 10th dealership to join the group.
MPAG added its second import brand, Kia, with the addition of Southtown Kia, located in Edmonton. It also added its second Edmonton Hyundai location, Northstar Hyundai, as well as its second Peace River dealership, Peace River Chrysler. Last, but not least, Capital Ford, located in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, was also acquired.
MPAG joins forces with the Ericksen Auto Group to form Go Auto, one of Canada's largest dealership networks, with 20 locations selling both new and used vehicles. The combination with Ericksen Auto Group brought two additional luxury brands and three new import brands: Infiniti, Porsche, Mazda, Nissan, and Volkswagen.
The group, now Go Auto, added Ericksen Infiniti, Porsche Centre Edmonton, Weber Mazda, Ericksen Nissan, and Norden Volkswagen. Go Auto, with 12 locations in Edmonton, finally had the size and scope to change the industry for the better.
Thanks to our success, we were able to create an in-house finance company, Go Finance. With Go Finance, we no longer need the banks to approve our customers for loans and leases. We can afford to lend the money ourselves. This has led to the highest rate of approvals in the Western Canadian auto market.
Go Auto added two Honda stores, Go Honda and Edson Honda. It also acquired TIG insurance, which was renamed Go Insurance. We sell Auto, Home, Travel, and Commercial insurance, and in many cases, have agents in our dealerships who can provide quotes and write policies on the spot.
With Go Insurance, Go Auto became a true one stop shop. We opened the Go Auto Outlet, our first location that specialized in used vehicles. We also acquired Strathcom Media, an automotive focused marketing agency that specializes in online advertising, inventory syndication, and dealer websites.
Go Auto opened its first Red Deer based used car dealership, Go Auto Direct Red Deer. Additionally, two RV & Marine locations were opened, one in Edmonton, and the other in Red Deer. Lastly, in 2012, we became the major Nissan player in Edmonton with the additions of Go Nissan North and Go Nissan South.
Go Auto purchased three new Red Deer locations in 2013: Acura of Red Deer, MGM Ford Lincoln, and Honda Red Deer. Not only did the move add two new luxury brands to the Go Auto family, but with two more brands in the fold Go Auto officially represented 20 brands for the first time in history.
We also obtained a second Infiniti dealership in Edmonton and branched outside the automotive industry for the first time by acquiring a sports equipment store.
With success came the opportunity to give back to those who helped us make us what we are today. Go Auto is proud to contribute to organizations that help hundreds of thousands of Canadians each year.
In 2014 (and again in 2017), as part of our Random Acts of Kindness initiative, Go Auto gave $1 million to its employees with the condition that the money be used to help those in need. Each employee donated $350 to a person or group in genuine need, on behalf of Go Auto. Go Auto also acquired a second Vancouver location: Go Dodge Surrey.
Go Auto purchased Aurora Ford dealerships in Hay River and Yellowknife, NWT. In Alberta, we added Spruce Grove Hyundai, our third Hyundai dealer in the Edmonton area. We added our very first Toyota location, Drayton Valley Toyota, as well as our third RV location, Go RV Red Deer.
Go Auto made its first expansion east of Alberta in 2016 by purchasing Jaguar London, Land Rover London, and Volvo London (our 21st brand), all located in London, Ontario. In Red Deer, we purchased Go Dodge Red Deer, and in southern Edmonton, we opened the Go Auto Outlet South.
We added two dealerships and two new business units in 2017. The addition of Go Dodge Mississauga and Whiteoak Ford gave Go Auto a domestic vehicle presence in the Greater Toronto Area.
Meanwhile, in Edmonton, Go Mortgages and Yes Plan Financial were established. Go Mortgages, a mortgage broker center, provides home financing alternatives to Albertan homeowners and buyers. Yes Plan Financial specializes in financing mortgages and new and used car loans.
Unfortunately, one out of five children in Canada do not have a secure source of food. Go Auto will be providing over 61,000 hot lunches to Edmonton area schools. This will help ensure that these children will have one healthy meal, which has been proven to improve test scores, reading skills, attendance records, and overall health.
Go Auto also acquired a second Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep location: Go Dodge Don Mills in the Greater Toronto Area. Go Auto has sold over 300,000 vehicles in its history. We've also repaired over 500,000 vehicles, financed over 200,000 drivers, and insured tens of thousands.
Go Auto pledged $3 million over five years to the Kids with Cancer Society. Effectively, this is a donation of $10 for every vehicle we sell. With the help of our customers, who can also donate during their vehicle purchases, we intend the total monies raised to be more than $5 million.
On the heels of our acquisition of Toyota on the Trail (our first metro Toyota store) in late 2018, Go Auto had its busiest acquisition year in history in 2019. In Alberta we acquired St. Albert Honda, Spruce Grove Nissan, and Jaguar Land Rover Calgary. In Ontario we acquired Terrace Ford Lincoln. In Manitoba we acquired Go Auto Haus Volkswagen and Porsche Centre Winnipeg. Then to cap off our tremendous year, we built Go Auto Outlet Yellowhead and Go RV Edmonton.
Go Auto acquired its first GMC dealership with Go North Surrey GM. In addition to adding another location in the Lower Mainland area, it allowed us to add three new brands to our lineup: GMC, Buick, and Chevrolet.
This brought our total number of brands north of 20 (with 21) for the first time in Go Auto history.
With arguably our biggest acquisition since forming Go Auto in 2009, we purchased the Cowell Auto Group in Richmond, BC, in 2021. With it, we acquired Cowell Volkswagen, Audi Richmond, Jaguar Richmond, and Land Rover of Richmond. Finally in December, we acquired one additional store, Langley Toyota.
With this expansion, Go Auto hit the 50-dealership mark for the first time in history. Nine of those are located in the Lower Mainland. Audi Richmond now gives us 22 new-vehicle brands, and we now have a luxury footprint in the Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Winnipeg, and Mississauga markets.
In November 2018, we were named one of Canada's Most Admired™ Corporate Cultures. This national program, presented by Waterstone Human Capital, annually recognizes best-in-class Canadian organizations for having cultures that enhance performance and help sustain a competitive advantage. Organizations were judged on six categories: vision and leadership, recruitment and hiring for fit, cultural alignment and measurement, retention, rewards and recognition, organizational performance and corporate social responsibility.
In addition to our first-class compensation, benefits, and employment opportunities, we were recognized for our strong promote-from-within philosophy. We also regularly contribute to organizations that help hundreds of thousands of Canadians each year. Not only did we give $1 million to our employees to be used towards the Random Acts of Kindness in their communities, but our staff members also volunteer every week for Go Auto Fuels the Schools, a program that delivers food to underprivileged schoolchildren across Edmonton.
Go Auto’s full-time Employee Experience team organizes annual meet and greets with the Edmonton Oilers, Corporate Challenge events, expenses-paid trips for top performers, a 20-dealership BBQ tour catered by Go Auto’s in-house kitchen team (led by a Red Seal chef), and an employee lunch program that makes 1,200+ meals every week.
“At Waterstone we believe corporate culture drives performance and that it’s your organization’s greatest asset,” said Marty Parker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Waterstone Human Capital and Chair of Canada’s Most Admired™ Corporate Cultures. “They set an outstanding example for cultivating and sustaining great cultures that ultimately drive growth and performance. This year’s winning organizations are to be admired for the diverse and impactful ways they ensure culture underpins their success.”
In 2021, Deloitte named Go Auto one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for the third year in a row. Deloitte is one of the country’s leading business awards programs. It recognizes Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative, world-class business practices. Winning companies demonstrate exceptional, sustained business performance through clear strategy, investment in current and future capability, and a steadfast commitment to hiring and retaining the best talent.
Go Auto was recognized for its customer-focused approach, ethical leadership, and industry-leading corporate culture. With 6,300 vehicles available from 22 brands, Go Auto offers the largest selection in Western Canada. Through innovation and productivity, the company has been able to thrive during the recent economic downturn, in no small part to the commitment shown to, and by, its employees. Go Auto was recognized in 2018 for having one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures.
The Best Managed Companies program is unique in that it focuses on Canadian owned and managed companies, recognizes overall business performance and sustained growth, measures more than just financial performance, and recognizes the efforts of the entire organization.
“We are extremely proud to be named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies,” said Jason Smith, CEO of Go Auto. “In today’s economy, businesses need to be thinking long-term in order to succeed, and this year’s list of Best Managed winners are distancing themselves from their competition by investing in the future. Not only does this award allow us a moment to celebrate all the hard work we have done, but it also makes us incredibly enthusiastic about where we are going.”
With its Top 10 Brokerages award, Insurance Business Canada (IBC) celebrated brokerages that achieved significant growth in 2018. The award evaluated brokerages of all sizes on an even playing field and focused on metrics like size and volume in addition to revenue. IBC also measured brokerages according to year-over-year growth.
The companies that made the list largely embraced new markets, adopted new processes, and innovated new technologies. For each of these reasons, Go Insurance was named a Top 10 Brokerage in Canada.
Go Insurance received high marks in all categories, including Revenue, Number of Brokers, Number of Active Clients, Client Growth, Policies Written, and Policy Growth.
The majority of the criteria used by IBC recognized growth and business volume per broker, rather than just critical mass. This means that all brokerages, regardless of size, could compete fairly.