TORONTO – While the Canadian vehicle retail landscape has changed as a result of the COVID pandemic, Steve Rhind is excited about the possibilities ahead for INFINITI in Canada.
First, INFINITI is a recognized and established brand on the Canadian vehicle landscape, with Canada being the third-largest market for this luxury brand. And the recent announcement that INFINITI’s parent company Nissan Motor Co. plans to prioritize and invest heavily is its core markets such as Japan, China and North America to drive sustainable growth and profitability – and the company’s continuing move to electrification along with the introduction of several new models in the coming years – the team at INFINITI Canada has a lot to be excited about.
Steve Rhind, the newly appointed managing director for INFINITI Canada, said that he and the team’s goal is to put the focus squarely on giving customers a premium customer experience in keeping with the INFINITI’s luxury brand cache and vehicles.
“That includes not just the products themselves, which are premium products in terms of their performance, handling, design and the luxuriousness of the interiors, but in terms also of the customer’s experience with the INFINITI brand and how you will be interacting with us,” Rhind said.
Rhind is looking to make that focus on luxury and the premium customer experience be visible across all aspects of the INFINITI organization in Canada, from sales and aftersales to marketing and in the dealerships.
Rhind brings to his new position some 20 years of experience in the auto industry. Prior to taking on his new position, he was director of marketing at Nissan Canada since 2014 and before that he had worked with such automakers at Honda Canada and BMW Group Canada, and ad agency Grip Limited.
Rhind said that his first goal would be to continue INFINITI Canada’s efforts to make the online and dealer experience seamless, that includes allowing INFINITI customers to do more of their vehicle research, build, F&I and finally the buying online if they so desire.
“Right now, you can do a fair bit of that, more that what most people realize,” he added. “Ultimately, we would like to be able to give a customer the means to do almost of it online, as that is an experience most customers want, to be able to handle the vehicle transaction in a way that they are most comfortable with. For some, that could mean coming into our dealerships and having a face-to-face meeting with our sales associates, or they could want to do the sale of the vehicle from the comfort of their home. What we want to do is to be able to provide to them the means of how they want to engage with us.”
Rhind points to the recently launched INFINITI Now initiative. Because of how Covid-19 changed the ways people want to interact with businesses, INFINITI Now was to give customers a premium vehicle buying experience while maintaining safe social distancing practises. So not only can one nearly do the entire vehicle shopping experience online, one can book a contactless test drive as well with a local INFINITI dealership.
That use of technology to enhance the customer experience will also continue to be rolled out inside the dealership such as the continuing rollout of the ICAR-X sales and service app, and also the introduction of more customer-facing technologies and applications to provide customers more ways to engage with the brand and sales associates, as well as enhancing the service side of the dealership’s operations as well.
“We want to tailor the customer experience with INFINITI to make it something unique,” Rhind said. Rhind added that he will also look to enhance the role of INFINITI’s customer experience managers who are assigned to dealerships so as to further help raise the bar on the customer experience from sales to service, and to assist the dealership’s team make sure all of needs of a customer are met.