The new site of OpenRoad Toyota Richmond is across the street from its current location in the Richmond Auto Mall. Photos by Benjamin Yong.
Once completed, the new largest Toyota dealership in Canada is going to be located in the Lower Mainland — right here in the Richmond Auto Mall.
OpenRoad Auto Group president and CEO Christian Chia was joined by Cyril Dimitris, VP of Toyota Canada sales and marketing as well as Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie during the ground-breaking ceremony Thursday afternoon. The rainclouds seemingly parted right over the site of the future store, the centerpiece a shiny vintage 2000GT on display from Chia’s personal collection. The sports car echoed the theme of the afternoon: history.
“Some of you may not recognize this car, but we’ve come a long way since that red car, a Toyota 2000GT, rolled of the assembly line 50 years ago exactly. Things have changed a lot. What has not changed is Toyota’s commitment to quality, to sustainability and of course to reliability,” said Chia.
He drew parallels to OpenRoad’s own long-term commitment to excellence, starting with its first Toyota dealership in Richmond, a modest showroom on Granville Avenue opening in 1978. In 1985, the facility moved to the now familiar location at the auto mall. The forthcoming expansion project will be 205,000 square-feet, or five times bigger than currently.
Customers should expect amenities like two lounges, a full service café with TVs, a children’s play area, a fireplace and free Wi-Fi. Up to 36 vehicles can be displayed at once on two levels, and the service centre is set to house 30 full mechanical bays.
At a time when businesses in other retail sectors are shuttering their brick and mortars, Dimitris said the automaker has an opposing view.
“We think that the dealership is the nexus point to fulfill the guest experience, and our philosophy is strongly to create the very best guest experience in the industry,” he said.
Other highlights of the new OpenRoad Toyota Richmond include visually striking architectural design and environmentally friendly technologies such as a green roof, water collection system for the car wash, LED lighting and high efficiency heating and cooling systems.
“My family has been associated with Toyota since 1967 and I am very honoured to celebrate our chapter with Toyota for the future,” said Chia.