We are the only Saab dealer in BC. Let me give a little bit of history as to who and what Springman’s Saab is and how we came to be who we are. In 1986, the Springman brothers Dan and Rueben opened a used car dealership in the heart of Langley, BC. Springman’s Motors would be the first used car dealer in Langley and the brothers prided themselves in having the very best used cars around and a business that was entirely customer focused.
Springman’s then became a Passport dealer which then in the early 90’s became a Saturn/Isuzudealer. We did have Saab for a short time in the early days, but the business was not in our area to support such a brand in those days. We then moved to our new building on the Langley Bypass in Surrey. We operated there as a Saturn/Isuzu dealer all the way to the end when in 2002 GM idled the Isuzu brand in Canada and then in December of 2009 GM phased out the Saturn brand leaving us with no manufacturer. Oddly enough, in about 2007-2008, we did have talks about possibly bringing Saab back to our fold. It didn’t materialize because at the time GM was really pushing for a major face lift to our building for Saturn. In the end, we thankfully didn’t do the Saturn upgrade considering that very shortly after that, we lost the Saturn franchise due to GM’s issues.
In September of 2010, we became a SAAB dealer again and were open for business, sort of. From September to the middle of December we were only doing Saab parts, service, body shop and used car business. In December we started to receive our first of the 2011 SAABs and started to
see some traffic of Saab owners and previous Saab owners coming in to see the new 9-5 and we had members of the Saab Club of Western Canada out to visit and drive the all new Saabs. It was a day filled with fun and conversation with true Saab fans.
We are a little different than most dealers around us in that we have a large amount of our staff that have worked with us for 10 plus years. Myself as a sales manager, I have been with Springman’s for almost 11 years. We have 2 mechanics that have been with us for over 20 years. Our parts manager has been with us for 15+ years. We also have 2 painters in the body shop that have been here for over 10 years.
Our business office has been together for over 10 years and our sales team has been the same for the past 3 years as well. This is really unheard of in an industry like ours and it adds to the sense of family that we have here.I asked my sales team to share a little background about themselves for this post. First is Rob Adolph who regularly posts on Saabs United. I started in the automotive industry right out of high school in 1987. I was always into cars, trucks, planes, trains…anything that moved was cool to me. When I was a kid, my collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars was only matched by the local toy stores! I built models of anything and everything and still have some of these stored away somewhere. To this day, my kids still play with my car collection.
When I was 20 I became the auto parts department manager at the local outlet of a national retail chain. Two years later, I moved into the service department at another store and became service advisor, assistant service manager and then moved to another location to become Service Manager. I stayed with that job for 3
years and in that time became more involved in helping manage the inventory in the store, out of which each service location drew their parts. I moved to the central office and worked an order desk for the 21 local and 20 other stores province-wide. After 10 years all together though, it was time for a change.
I was offered an opportunity to join the service department at a Toyota store. It was a chance for me to expand my automotive knowledge and experience by moving to a large manufacturer. Warranty, new cars, sales were all new to me. During the time I was there I spent time on the front counter, the parts department and the shop where I coordinated the workflow through 14 service bays. I participated in various skills competitions and competed against other advisors across the country and won the “gold” prize twice, earning a trip to Toronto for the final challenges at the head office. Various winners worked to win a trip to Japan. Sadly, I just missed out twice! Life went on.
Once again, 10 years flew by and at one point I was offered a sales job at a competing dealership. I originally declined because I was not interested in becoming “used car sales guy”. Ultimately though, I was convinced and moved to Springman’s. I began working here in 2008, selling Saturns and used cars and have enjoyed the sales apect of the business very much. Unfortunately, we all know what happened to GM in 2008 and 2009. By the end of the year we were left with a dead brand (in Saturn) and for much of the next year, sold used cars only. In August, we found out we were to become a Saab dealer and we were excited. The cars were gorgeous, the brand was unique and exclusive to a degree and we started to really gather information about the brand. Once we began selling the cars, I wanted to be able to provide the best possible level of knowledge and service to my customers. Information overload set in and SaabsUnited became a daily, make that hourly, stop to keep on top of things. I bought myself a used 1999 9-3 Coupe and began to feel first-hand what I had been reading about. Without any exaggeration, the attachment to a car that is the best, most fun and connected car I have ever had (and I have had many) helped form a bond to a group with an unbelievable feeling of community. Now if could just magically make it into a Viggen! As a previous employee of a giant, global automotive machine, I am constantly amazed by the resiliency and tenacity of our “little” brand in this corner of the automotive industry. I remember years ago, going with my dad to look at new cars and the one that stuck out in my mind always was a Saab. I could never get over the ignition key between the seats! It was the coolest thing. I guess the Saab bug bit me back then and now I have been given the opportunity to be a part of the rebuilding. I am not going to lie and say it’s been easy but I think with our experience, I can’t think of anyone better equipped to go forward with Saab than Springman’s. It’s a wild ride and I, for one, am happy to be a part of it!
Then we have Brian Callaghan. I have been a sales consultant with Springman’s SAAB for 3 years now. Before coming to Springman’s, I was a Quality Assurance Manager for a major airline. Making the transition to Springman’s has been easy, as my background focused on customer experience and the quality of product and that’s exactly what we are all about! At Springman’s the focus is on keeping customers for life and the care that is shown here is in every department and is the best I have ever experienced. I drive a 2007 SAAB 9-3 60th Anniversary sedan and what I love about SAAB is it’s the perfect balance between luxury and performance. Having the opportunity to audit many different configurations of aircraft, I can clearly see the influence SAAB’s rich aviation history into the design of each vehicle and I am very excited to be a part of the SAAB family.You might say that with our sales floor, we have the history of Saab covered. Someone who worked with aircrafts to someone with a strong background with cars and then there’s me.
My interest in the car business started at a young age. My grandfather owned a GM store on Vancouver Island and the bug got planted early. We would go to car shows every year that he was in town. Classic car shows were our favorite as it was his era of when he grew up and he could name every car by year and model which would blow my mind. One year when he was retired, I went to stay the summer with my grandparents and we had the chance to show one of his cars in the Palm Desert Mall. We drove right through the doors of the mall and set up his 56 Buick for a classic car show. I spent that day getting to know everyone displaying cars and what car they had. I think that was the day I decided the car business was for me. Saab has been a great addition to Springman’s in every way. I joke with customers that Saab was perfect for us because we were both dropped by GM and now we can show them together that they let the wrong brand and dealers go. I have always believed that you are only as strong as the people you have around you and I’m very lucky to have a great team around me and I enjoy going to work everyday. If you’re following, what I’m trying to say is that like Saab, we have an unheard of loyalty from our employees. As employees we get loyalty in return.
Used cars is in the blood of the Springman’s. We have an inventory of over 80 pre-owned vehicles and carry everything from sports cars to cube vans from time to time. We try to carry something for everyone. When we first started up with Saab in September 2009, it was very hard to get pre-owned Saab stock and since that time we have brought our used Saab inventory up.
At the present moment we have 10 pre-owned Saabs in stock at every price point. The used car business has changed over the years too. Being so close to the US border has been a blessing and a curse. We have the issue with new cars where people think we are priced too high because the US price is cheaper. The flip side of that is that we can go to the US auctions and buy cars at a reasonable price that we wouldn’t even find on our side of the border. This further strengthens our used car department with very good and clean used cars. On every used car we sell, we provide a Carproof report for our customers that digs deep into the history of the car they are buying to make sure that it has no hidden accidents or liens. Used cars has been a big part of our business and we treat every used car customer like they were buying a new car because our customers are our success and they are what keep us going.
Our new car showroom is set up with three vehicles on display and just outside the door is the rest of our new car stock ready to drive. We have a delivery pod just in front of the new Saabs in the showroom that is set up so that our customers can drive right out of the showroom when taking delivery of their new car. Funny enough though, most customers op for us to drive it out for them. I think the idea is that if we catch a door on the way out, we fix it for free and nobody wants to scratch their new car on the first day.
We are a full service Saab dealer as well. Our service department is headed by Rueben Springman who also heads our body shop and is one of the owners. At the service counter we have Trevor Springman who has been with us for about 11 years and is a cousin of Dan and Rueben. Another relative is Sheila Springman who works in the service department as well. Then there is Warren to round off the service department front counter staff. Our service department has 8 operating service bays and 7 licensed mechanics. We are an aircare repair facility and are capable of all repairs. Our mechanics are where the jokers of the dealership are. The jokes are non stop and the work is second to none.
The parts department is where we find Christine who has been our parts manager for what seems like forever. We carry all SAAB parts and accessories as well as we are hooked up to a parts supply chain called Uni Select for aftermarket parts and accessories. The parts department is actually one of the more important departments in the dealership. Every department in the dealership uses them for the simplest of service jobs to the biggest body shop repair job.
Our body shop is actually one of the largest body shops in the lower mainland. Rueben, Jon and Scott run the shop and deal with all kinds of insurance claims, other dealers vehicles, police vehicles and of coarse our used cars. We have one of the best paint boths available and two prep stations as well as room for about 10 cars to be in at one time. Our shop is capable of all sorts of jobs and we even have a frame straightener and are constantly upgrading our tools. The body shop is one of the best around and we do body work for a lot of other dealers including one of the largest Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat dealers in Canada. We have two painters and three body men.
Has business been tough with the ongoing Saab rollercoaster? Yes, but it doesn’t change our commitment one little bit. We are just as excited as we ever have been. We see the arrival of the 9-4X and the 9-5 Sport Combi as a real turning point for Saab and our customers who have been patiently awaiting they’re arrivals too. We have the best product line ever about to hit our markets and a brand that has a truly amazing following that other car companies wish they had. If you’re looking for a place to come and talk Saab over a cup of fresh coffee and one of our freshly baked cookies, this is the place for you to be. If you’re looking for a place to come and talk about how Saab is on deaths door or why you think it will fail, then I would suggest another dealer or brand. We are here because we want to be and every employee that works here does so because they believe in what we stand for and that is our customer everyday, every time, without fail.
Look for more posts like this one as we will be doing more dealer profiles in the future. Our goal is to show a global community and the dealers around the globe.
IF YOU ARE RUNNING OR WORK AT A DEALERSHIP, PLEASE WRITE A STORY LIKE THIS ONE WITH LOTS OF PHOTOS AND SEND TO US! CREW@SAABSUNITED.SE