Solid growth in Ontario and strong penetration with its dealer service centre strategy has Assured Automotive looking beyond its provincial borders.
The head of the Mississauga, Ont.-based company said since they have developed relationships with dealers in the Ottawa region, a natural evolution for the collision repair organization would be to see business migrate into the Quebec market.
“I think if we can identify markets that are traditionally under serviced by dealer collision centres in Quebec we might be able to go in and build a presence that works for dealers, insurers and customers,” explained Tony Canade, president of Assured Automotive.
“We will go outside the Ontario border if we can find the right fit.”
Assured Automotive has been a strong success story in collision repair circles having grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.
The company owns and operates over 65 auto body/collision repair facilities in Ontario.
Of particular interest and familiarity for readers of this magazine is its unique dealer service centre strategy. First launched in 2004 at Oak-Land Ford, the program sees Assured assume all collision repair work for the dealership at a nearby Assured-owned facility. Assured inserts its own employee into the dealership who appears as a regular store staffer to all customers.
The deal either frees up space on site for more service capacity or allows stores that didn’t have a solid collision repair process in the first place to earn that business.
“When most of the dealers do the math on how to best use their facilities, collision repair usually doesn’t rank that high,” he said.
The business model earned a big boost in 2006 when it added two insurance companies to the network. More insurers eventually signed on with ten now supporting the dealer service centre network.
Canade said the organization now has a presence in 29 dealerships with another to be added by the end of June. Most are centred in the Greater Toronto Area, though it extends as far west as Windsor and to Ottawa in the east.
He said that in addition to future growth in Ontario and possibly Quebec, the team is looking at adding another collision centre soon in addition to “a number of other irons in the fire.”
“You will also see continued growth in our dealer strategy,” he said. “It’s definitely a segment that has legs and one we can continue to grow.”
Key to that growth, he stressed, is to develop it strategically. He noted that part of the value proposition goes beyond the day-to-day with the consumer and the new profit centre it can open for a dealership.
Depending on the location of a store and Assured’s own facilities, he said they could package a number of collision centres to buy parts from that dealer.
“I like to protect the primary market area for a dealer similar to how an automaker does. Much of the referral business is postal code driven as they recommend facilities close to the customer’s area and we keep all of that in mind when looking to expand the business.”
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