Once a new car is driven off the lot by its owner, it loses a substantial amount of resale value. But if that same person leases the vehicle, he or she does not have to absorb that loss.

This is just one of the advantages of leasing rather than purchasing automobiles available to customers of Holand Automotive Group. “The advantage to leasing is you do not have to lay out the capital,” President, CEO and co-owner Gad Bitton points out. “It is off the balance sheet. Leasing companies generally have a much better turnaround time and ability to deliver a car than manufacturers or a captive finance company.” Leasing also can be advantageous from a tax perspective and can result in lower insurance premiums.

Holand Automotive Group has been offering corporate and consumer leasing and financing across central and eastern Canada since 1979. It also owns and operates the only Rolls-Royce dealership in Quebec and a Lamborghini dealership in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“We have access to inventory that is difficult to find,” Bitton maintains. “We are very forward in our thinking. We are a leasing company, and as such, we have access to all brands. We are not afraid to inventory all types of vehicles that are very much in demand, and our new car dealerships are always well-stocked. You cannot lease or sell cars from an empty shelf.

“The good thing about auto leasing is the ability to turn around very quickly,” Bitton points out. “We do not have anything that holds us down or controls our growth. A new car dealer – I can say this without any bias because I am one – you are essentially a captive finance company. But our leasing company is not monitored by anybody but us. If the market changes, we can adapt to that change very fast, and that allows us to be very competitive in every marketplace.”

Cross-Selling

Bitton thinks diversification keeps Holand Automotlve Group recession-proof. “If new cars do not sell, used cars will,” he insists. ‘There is always someone looking to lease or buy. We know the value for us is cross-selling. We have a personal touch in our business. We know who our customer is, and we speak to our customer. We don’t depersonalize it. We are very accessible. You need a real strategy to get to where you want to go, and you have to be able to execute. We believe a good strategy perfectly executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed.” 

For example, during the most recent recession in 2008/2009, many leasing companies closed down, leaving clients without any source of financing their lease fleets. “There was tremendous demand for leasing financing,” Bitton recalls. “We literally were picking up fleets as large as 200 to 300 cars with a phone call, which was unheard of. Holand was able to adapt to that change very quickly. 

“We did not have to apply for financing – we had the financing in place, and those phone calls kept coming in with ease,” Bitton remembers. “If the market changes one way or the other, if new cars go down, used cars go up. We can adapt to that change very quickly. We can turn around within the hour if we like the deal. That is how recession-proof this very adaptable business is.”

Holand Automotive Group’s business extends from Canada’s east coast through Ontario. For the future, Bitton sees expansion to Canada’s west coast. 

Employee Retention

Bitton cites several factors for the success of Holand Automotive Group. Among them is co-owner and Senior Vice-President Janet Cully, Sandra Bitton, Bitton’s wife, who is in communications, marketing, finance and administration, and his son, Meir Bitton, who is in auto leasing operations as well as real estate management. 

“We have low turnover at the leasing company,” Bitton asserts. “Everybody has been working together for 25 years. In terms of how we train, we don’t consider them employees. People are a treasured resource – you have to invest in them. We have a lot of love and affection for our employees. We respect them, and teamwork is essential to success.” 

Rather than recruiting employees from outside the company, Holand Automotive Group promotes from within. “We get employees at a much younger age where they’re answering the telephone,” Bitton says. “They get to know the customer base and slowly move up into sales. We have three of those people on our team. That’s part of our business. My business partner and senior vice-president started as a receptionist in a car dealership. She now runs the bulk of the operations at Holand Automotive Group.” 

For the future, Bitton plans to expand Holand Leasing U.S.A., which he opened 18 months ago to lease mainly high-end luxury vehicles to foreign nationals from Canada and South America.

“With the recent boom in immigration to South Florida as well as the surge in Canadians that have purchased homes there, the demand for auto leasing has grown,” Bitton points out. “Without a social security number, foreign nationals are not able to lease a vehicle in the United States. This niche has proven to be very lucrative. South Florida is one of the best luxury car markets in the world. I feel that the potential for growth is limitless in this part of the United States.”

Bitton attributes his company’s success to its focus on the customer. “We are interested in our customer and in making sure that they are happy,” he concludes. “Our success is the relationship with our staff and our clients. That is a big part of what we are.” 

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