After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

Dealership aims to offer bespoke customer service with 'Butler' program

Izzam Ahamed, general manager of Regency Lexus, stands next to a Lexus LS 400 F Sport; photos by Benjamin Yong

To coincide with the official opening of their new dealership on Burrard, Regency Lexus is upping their customer service game by launching a tailored "Butler" VIP service for customers, akin to what people have come to expect from an Apple Store.

Rather than just handing over keys to a nondescript shop vehicle when a customer brings in their car for maintenance or warranty work, an online survey is provided to them beforehand asking questions ranging from how they take their coffee or preferred genres of music to favourite Vancouver neighbourhoods and eateries. Then a current Lexus model can picked up at Regency (or delivered, depending on your proximity to the store) for a test drive, complete with treats according to information gleaned from the survey answers.

“By sending you a survey I get to know you a bit better. We want to personalize your experience,” says Izzam Ahamed, general manager at Regency Lexus.

“It’s kind of similar to Apple's iCloud. When you change your phone, iCloud basically syncs everything and you always have that same connection. We actually want to have that same feeling.” 

He says what separates Regency’s service from some others is that regardless of the year of Lexus a person brings in, they are given the latest equivalent model. Although I rolled in in a Hyundai, I was still loaned the recently released ES 300h (starting at MSRP $44,100) to drive for the day — the hybrid version of the mid-size luxury sedan first seen in 1989.

A larger and more upscale option to the CT 200h hybrid hatchback also offered by Toyota’s luxury division, the ES is powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine combined with an electric motor generating a net 200 horsepower. Drivers can choose from an Eco, Normal and even somewhat surprising Sport mode to suit their tastes, but if performance is what your after, the regular ES 350 model may be a better option. Natural Resources Canada estimates fuel consumption at 4.7 L/100 km city and 5.1 highway — a big improvement over its gasoline sibling that gets 9.9 L/100 km in the city and 6.4 on the highway. 

Getting into the vehicle and turning it on, I was greeted with an oldschool Wu-Tang Clan song playing on the car’s speakers (I checked off hip-hop on the aforementioned survey), some KIND granola bars for the trip and a hardcover Lexus philosophy book to read during stopovers. After a tour around downtown Vancouver, I returned the car to their covered but limited indoor parking area inside the massive 14,000 square-foot indoor retail space spanning an entire city block. 

“We have the whole lineup compared to our old location where we didn’t have the space to show a lot of cars. Now everything is under one roof.”

Notable features of the facility include the all glass staircase leading up to a shiny white automated Yamaha grand piano — a nod to the Yamaha-designed engine on the Lexus LFA supercar — that plays songs from an attached iPad, the display of F Sports and hybrids on the second floor, and the various unique design details from being the first store to adopt the new Lexus Global Standards. 

“As we were building the showroom, Lexus Japan was telling us what colours we had to use — that was a really unique experience. That’s why it took a little bit longer, because they’ll suddenly send an email saying ‘The tile is going to be this big,’” says Ahamed, laughing.

The dealership had a soft launch in February, with the official opening taking place at the end of April.


More in Transportation

2014 BMW 335i Gran Turismo review: hatchback love

BMW is a manufacturer that loves to tinker, and doesn’t believe in the “if it ain’t broke…” mentality that some automakers subscribe to. They also have an affinity for hatchbacks and wagons,...

2014 Jeep Compass review: one size fits all

The recently refreshed Jeep Compass continues with a styling and performance renaissance for 2014 tweaking the much-improved front end and debuting a six speed automatic transmission. Together with...

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander V6 review: another third row option

The completely restyled 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander got a jump on its competitors by being released mid last year, and recent sales figures show the crossover has enjoyed its highest popularity in...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.