VANCOUVER, BC (Sept. 28, 2018) – Christian Chia, Chief Executive Officer of OpenRoad Auto Group Limited, British Columbia’s largest-volume dealership group, has earned the prestigious distinction as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Pacific winner. Chia was chosen as the Pacific region’s top entrepreneur and an industry trailblazer from an elite group of 62 nominees and 35 finalists based on his proven success and leadership in the automotive retail and service industry.
“It is a tremendous honour to be recognized amongst such an esteemed group of entrepreneurs,” said Christian Chia, CEO of OpenRoad Auto Group. “At OpenRoad, we’ve worked very hard to stay ahead of competition and to offer a superior car ownership experience at every turn, so this award is truly a testament to the dedication of the entire OpenRoad team.”
Established in 1978 as Multiland Investment, the small, family-run business of one car dealership eventually grew to four stores and three brands by the time Christian became president in 1998. He then led the transition from Multiland to OpenRoad in 2000 and has since paved the road for explosive growth. Today, OpenRoad is the largest auto retailer in BC, with 26 retail locations, including 23 dealerships and 3 collision centres.
“Christian is taking a fresh approach to differentiate OpenRoad in a mature market,” says Lui Petrollini, Entrepreneur Of The Year Pacific Program Director. “Loyalty marketing, predictive analytics and multi-channel platforms are just some of the tactics he’s embraced to create a personalized and trusting experience — both online and in-store.”
OpenRoad continues to invest in a culture of experimentation by implementing tools, such as a first-in-Canada custom payment platform known as Payment Engine and a custom peer-recognition social application called the OpenRoad Heart program, and with employee learning like their internal Leadership Development Program.
“One of OpenRoad’s biggest strengths is understanding its people,” says Petrollini. “Buying a car is a big investment decision for many people, and the experience often doesn’t end at the point of purchase. Christian aims to build on that by delivering an engaged and meaningful car ownership experience from one end of the customer journey to the other.”
Christian’s perseverance to experiment and explore new markets has allowed OpenRoad to overcome the size and legacy of longstanding competitors in the BC market. The company now employs 1,300 staff and has recently expanded into Washington state where the company now owns and manages Bentley of Bellevue, Lamborghini Bellevue, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bellevue and McLaren Bellevue.
As the Pacific region’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 winner as well as earning the top spot in the Business to Consumer category, Christian will now compete with top entrepreneurs from the Prairies, Ontario, Atlantic and Quebec regions for the national honour of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Canada, to be presented at a gala celebration on 29 November 2018 in Toronto. In June 2019, Canada’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 will move to the world stage to compete with more than 50 country recipients for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.
For full program details, visit ey.com/ca/eoy.
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About OpenRoad Auto Group
OpenRoad Auto Group is B.C.’s largest automotive dealership group with over 1,300 associates representing 19 quality automotive brands at 26 full-service retail locations, including 23 dealerships and 3 collision centres. dealerships, OpenRoad Auto Group offers car buyers and owners an experiential automotive retail service. With sales and service in multiple languages, OpenRoad Auto Group encourages a car buying experience based on openness, participation and expertise. OpenRoad is proud to be one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, a CADA Laureate, and the recipient of multiple Canadian Best Employer Awards. openroadautogroup.com
About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries. ey.com/eoy
The 2018 Pacific independent judging panel consists of Charles Chang, President & Founder, Lyra Growth Partners Inc.; Debra Hewson, President & CEO, Odlum Brown; Sacha McLean, Partner, McLean Group; Ali Pejman, Partner, Fort Capital Partners; Lisa Shields, Founder & CEO, FI.SPAN Services Inc.; Bill Tam, Co-Chair, Digital Technology Supercluster; Cathy Thorpe, President & CEO; Nurse Next Door; and Marsha Walden, President & CEO, Destination British Columbia.
This year’s program national sponsors are ICI RDI, The TMX Group, The Globe and Mail Inc., Media One Creative, Merrill Corporation, Kira Talent, Air Canada and The Printing House Limited. Pacific regional sponsors are Leone, Canada Wide Media, Hunt Personnel, Rocky Mountaineer and the University of British Columbia.
Tanis Sullivan Communications