“What surprised us was the broad spectrum of people who showed interest in engaging with us on a VMC dealership — private-equity firms, new-car dealers, trucking dealers, large leasing firms, as well as one or two private individuals with no retail experience,” he said.
When VMC began sourcing dealers for its new truck, LaGourgue said, it started with British Columbia-based Pioneer Auto Group, which has 19 new-vehicle dealerships and the exclusive rights in the province to sell VMC vehicles. Pioneer brought VMC and DSMA together, he said.
“The nice thing about DSMA is they know the whole market,” LaGourgue said. “They’ll go out and identify multiple dealers and decide who is the best fit.
“It’s like getting married. You want to have the right group, because unwinding is not that comfortable, not fun.”
SEEKING ‘GOOD-QUALITY DEALER’
The initial focus will be on dealers with a track record in fleet and sales of Class 3 to Class 5 vehicles.
“People with a big footprint in the market, where we can see them as a good-quality dealer,” said Chris Julian, DSMA’s manager of network development.
DSMA and VMC hope to announce the first dealership outside of British Columbia in the third quarter, Julian said, with nine more by the end of the year. The initial target area will be the Hamilton-Montreal corridor, but the company plans to expand nationwide as well as into the United States.
The VMC 1200 has a range of about 250 kilometres on a full charge, said the company, a load capacity of 2,700 kilograms (6,000 pounds) and a top speed of 105 km/h. A full charge takes five to seven hours with a 240-volt Level 2 station, and about three hours using a 480-volt DC Level 3 fast charger. The base price is just less than $150,000, not including options that range from a dry box for deliveries to a dump box or flat deck.
VMC, which was founded in 2008, plans to build 2,000 VMC 1200s this year, 8,000 in 2024 and 20,000 in 2025, LaGourgue said.