Islington Chrysler has been in the same spot since it opened in 1960, on Dundas St. W. just east of Hwy. 427. Now, the dealership is undergoing an extreme, $3-million makeover.
The idea of a new building had been considered for some time and, with the addition of a Fiat franchise in 2011, the timing seemed right.
"If there wasn't a future here, we shouldn't be spending $3 million on this new building," says Kris Rams, the dealership's 33-year-old vice-president and general manager. "My job now, as we go through the construction phase, is to keep selling cars."
His father, Al Rams, was part of a group that bought Islington Chrysler in 1981, and Kris has been going there since he "was old enough to walk." Al later bought out the other partners.
Al earned a degree in economics at Waterloo and started in the car business right after he graduated.
Kris went to the University of Western Ontario and graduated with a degree in history and economics. Then he attended Northwood University in Midland, Mich., which specializes in automotive marketing and management.
Al and Kris are now partners, although Kris is in the process of buying his father out. Although Al is president, he is stepping away from daily operations and Kris is now running the dealership as general manager.
Kris gained experience at other dealerships. His first summer job was washing trucks at a Ford dealership. Then he worked in the service department at a Toyota dealer. He's also worked at Chrysler Financial and at an independent used-car wholesaler.
After joining Islington Chrysler in 2003, he did almost everything. He worked in the parts department, drove the parts truck, worked in the accounting office, sold used and new vehicles, worked in the dealership's leasing company and took on increasingly more senior management roles.
Al says that diversity of experience has prepared Kris to run the place.
"In the earlier years, Kris was impatient. Something would come up and he would say, 'Can you give me the three-word answer?' and I'd say, 'No, it's not that easy.' Now I have full faith in his abilities. He's gained my trust and my respect that he is making the right business decisions."
And Kris has been clearly influenced by his father.
"I've learned the car business from Al, so it's almost impossible for me not to be like him," says Kris. "You could go to 20 or so other Chrysler dealerships in the Toronto area and buy the exact vehicles there. So what sets us apart? It's customer service, being upfront and straightforward with people."
Still, says Al, the two have different styles. "I'm more forgiving than Kris, who is more results-oriented and has a focus on performance and accountability."
Rams suggests technology will be a major driving force in the future of the car business.
"The biggest difference is the Internet, and how we can use the powers of the Internet to do business going forward," he says. "Rather than having to come to car dealership lots, on the Internet, you can search out exactly what you're looking for."
Serving the Toronto area, Islington Chrysler located at 5476 Dundas St W in Toronto, Ontario, is your premier retailer of new and used Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler vehicles. Our dedicated sales staff and top-trained technicians are here to make your auto shopping experience fun, easy and financially advantageous. Please utilize our various online resources and allow our excellent network of people to put you in your ideal car, truck or SUV today! Call us at 877-642-8916
"A Cut above the Rest"
I started my search for a new vehicle Fall of 2012 and had educated myself on my vehicle requirements, I even went as far as to check the inventory for the closest match and headed off to the dealership. Well let me tell you I had a horrible experience at the first dealership they did not listen to me at all, just kept trying to push gently used vehicles on me and didn't even follow up with a requested phone call on what stock was availabe as I did not want their gently used vehicles. I guess they figured my daughter and I knew nothing about cars as we were female. To make a long story short we left the dealership with a really bad impression of Chrysler Dealerships. ...Then it happened one call to Patterson of Islington Chrysler ...WOW you have the vehicle I want.....yes he said, come on in Joe and I will take care of you! They were both amazing, professional, knowledgable a cut above the rest. So to the other Crappy Chrysler Dealership, I bought my 2013 Journey Crew....BUT NOT FROM YOU FROM THE GREAT GUYS AT ISLINGTON CHRYSLER! Thanks Patterson and Joe, we recommend you highly and will be back!
Just wanted to drop a line about what a great place Islington Chrysler is to buy a car. I would, without a doubt, not hesitate in buying another car. We dealt with Patterson and Alban, both are really nice guys. My husband and I have bought and leased many cars in our lifetime and this was the only time I can remember it as being a positive experience. Thanks again, Patterson and Alban (apologies if I mispelled your names!)
Hi, I came in on Thursday, November 29th to get my Jeep serviced. I had a few questions for the mechanic.He answered all my questions,did an fabulous job and totally exceeded my expectations. I got more than my money`s worth in service. If I ran a garage, I would hire him in an instant. His name is Kenny. I really felt I wanted to state how nice my service call was. Thanks Emery
"Reason for Coming Back"
I brought my 2006 Caravan in for 85,000 km service after not being a customer of yours for several decades due to poor service experiences with this company .
I first spoke with Elvin on Tuesday to determine what might need to be done and to get costs. He was very patient and answered my questions to my satisfaction. Based on his good customer service I decided to book service. I brought the vehicle in Tuesday evening for service Wednesday. Wednesday I received a call from Ryan who explained that I needed further service. I said I wanted to see the problems so he said come in right away. I did and met the Mechanic, Bassem, who patiently and thoroughly did a show and tell answering all my concerns.
(Years ago I bought a wagon here and was not permitted to enter the service area or talk with a mechanic and service was very late, etc. I did not return for service or purchases since that time as a result. The mechanic I have had since has now retired so I decided to try Islington again)
Unfortunately when I picked up my vehicle Wednesday, on time, neither Ryan or Elvin were still at work so I could not thank them personally but Serge offered this alternative.
Thanks guys, I will be seeing you again.
"A very classy thing to do"
Sitting down in my Kitchener home today.... After reading so many sad, tragic and senseless articles I came to your ad in the Toronto Star's Sports Section. It was such a nice gesture by you to congratulate the young players from the Islington Rangers team! I teach athletics in an elementary school and understand the importance of acknowledging the amazing efforts of young people. Your acknowledgment in the newspaper will be something they will remember always! So a big thank you first for sponcering young peoples sports, and secondly for making them feel proud of themselves! A very classy thing to do!
"15 Years of Service from Islington Chrysler!"
For the past 15 years, Islington Chrysler has been my one and only destination to service and maintain my vehicles. During that time I serviced 5 cars, and every time I brought it to Islington Chrysler, I knew I would get the best work around. Their maintenance and technical crew are impeccable and I have never walked away unsatisfied. Serge Derkach in particular is always a pleasure to work with, he handles absolutely everything I need and really goes the extra mile in ensuring I have the best experience possible. With over a decade with Islington Chrysler, I look forward to another decade of fantastic service from Islington Chrysler.
"Professional Service and Great Price"
I just wanted to thank you again for the professional service and great price we received from you when purchasing my new Grand Caravan on August 31. I have purchased many vehicles in my life and this is the first time I can say that I wasn't pushed to purchase further items i didn't need or want. Thank you also for having the paperwork ready when we arrived.
We are very happy with the van and a service and will be recommending you to our family and friends.
The next time I am looking for a new van I will call you first.
Rob Adam & Family
"First North American Car Purchase - Excellent Dealership"
I wanted to mention that I did give perfect scores related to my Dodge Journey. This was my first north american car purchase. I've owned 3 Hondas, 2 Toyotas, a VW and a Nissan. My Journey has been the best purchase in terms of reliability, price, features and quality. I do have a second car on lease (w/ Honda) and once that lease is up, I will be heading back to the Dodge dealership. I also wanted to mention my experience at the Islington Dodge dealership was by far the most pleasant car buying experience that I've had in 15 years. I hope these comments make it through and do not get stuck in a generic mailbox.
"What a terrific dealership!"
We recently purchased a 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 from your dealership and just wanted you to know what a pleasant experience it was. Your assistant sales manager, Patterson Stratton and sales consultant, Kevin Graca did an excellent job and made it one of the easiest car purchases we have ever made. Their attention to detail, vehicle knowledge, efficiency and pleasant personalities should be brought to your attention. They are a definite asset to your dealership.
Roger & Laurie Younger, Chatham, Ontario
"Islington Rangers Girls Soccer team sponsored by FIAT-Toronto West"
A few of my 9 yr olds girls team members at game last night with their SPONSOR - they're all whining to their parents to get one. Hilarious.
I'll have a proper photo sent to you during the season.
Steve Fretwell, Toronto
"First Time Buyer"
I just bought a 2012 Chrysler LX from Kevin Graca at Islington Chrysler and I absolutely love it! I feel like I'm driving a luxury car!!! It was my first time buying a car on my own and Kevin made it a great experience. He knew his stuff but wasn't overly pushy like some sales people, and when I first came in to see him I said I wasn't going to buy a car that day but he still let me take it out on a test drive. And any salesman that can survive my father's questions has the patience of a saint lol!!! Thanks again!
Colleen Worobess, Toronto
I can't stop thinking about what you did for me yesterday by sending those photos. I live in Nova Scotia so can't buy a car from you but it was really kind of you to do something like that. I want you to know that I am going in and ordering an olive green Fiat Lounge with black leather interior today. I have been trying to make up my mind about colour for 2 months now and your pics made my decision (they don't have one in those colours here in NS). So indirectly it was because of you that I am getting my Fiat FINALLY!
I am saving your emails and when we move to TO in about 1.5 years I will be looking you up and we will buy our next car from you. Thanks again.
Feel free to send this to your manager. I think good service should always get recognized.
Kristine Self,Nova Scotia
"Excellent Customer Service"
I just purchased a vehicle from this dealership and it was just simply an excellent experience. These guys are excellent in costumer service and amazing in making things happened . Great business islington Chrysler .
5476 DUNDAS ST WTORONTO, ON M9B 1B6