KAMRAN KHADEM, CEO, BELL AUTO
It’s better to buy a great used car than less-than ideal new one. Kamran Khadem, the CEO of Bell Auto clearly knows that to be true. The dealership’s showroom features certified used luxury brand cars that are less than 5 years old. The current inventory includes pre-owned cars from Bentley, Porshe, BMW, Audi, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz. Bell Auto's website is updated every day with the most recent inventory in the showroom, but the luxury cars aren’t the whole story.
“At Bell Auto we specialize in pre-owned vehicles, we do not limit ourselves to certain manufacturers, rather we think about the customer’s needs,” Kamran says. “Every day we do our research on the market and on the types of vehicles customers are interested in. We make sure we get the right vehicles to meet our customer’s needs.”
Those customers’ needs are especially important. Many of the dealership’s clients are professionals who have recently started their own businesses, are new to Canada or have undergone a difficult and expensive divorce. Both good circumstances, like starting a business or immigration, and difficult ones like a divorce, can make it hard for people to qualify for new car financing at a fair interest rate – if they qualify at all.
“When you are beginning a new stage in your life sometimes it is time to leave the past, in the past,” Kamran says. “When you choose to come to Bell Auto we get to be part of your effort to begin something new. At Bell Auto my job is not to bring more stress to your life, but to help you make the change and I will work with you, not against you.”
Auto financing that operates like a “pay day” loan company can often be seen as the only option, but thankfully that’s not necessarily true. There is no reason why being a “difficult” customer for auto financing should lead to a draconian interest rate or a substandard car.
Kamran Khadem has run the dealership with his father, Alex, since 1999. The two share a passion for cars and the family business has become a haven for fans of great cars as a result.
“My father taught me the morals and ethics of the business. I have long understood that a business is about building long term relationships with customers because of my father,” says Kamran. “I do everything I can to get to know my customers on a personal level. I don’t put them into categories.”
Kamran learned his work ethic from his father, but the business is also run according to tested and sound processes and standards. Kamran studied business administration at York University.
“My business education at York University influenced my understanding of the legal and systematic business practices that are not taught through day-to-day operations,” Kamran says. “These absolutely must be understood and they must be followed to protect our customers.”
At university Kamran also he learned how to identify and support opportunities for growth in the family-run business. That said, while much has developed, not everything has changed.
“When my father started, the automotive business was quite different,” Kamran says. “Social media and websites were not as prevalent as they are today. Everything was based on word of mouth and not everyone was investing in the automotive industry as they do now. The business practices used during that time were significantly different, but they were trustworthy because it was all about getting to know your customers on a personal level.”
Bell Auto now differentiates itself from other car dealerships through its unique inventory and that focus on customer care. As a result of this emphasis, the dealership now offers complete service packages performed by fully-trained and certified technicians and mechanics.
In addition, Bell Auto’s financing experts find their customers the most affordable auto loans with the lowest possible interest rates. The customer can then focus on finding a certified used car of the very best quality in their budget. Every car on the lot meets Ontario safety standards, with an on-site 100- point inspection and emissions testing. Customers who choose to buy from Bell Auto can drive off their lot on the day of their purchase.
Kamram stresses the fact that the ten staff at the dealership are approachable, knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions the customer might have about the car, its accident history and maintenance record. Bell Auto is an active member of the Used Cars Dealers Association (UCDA), the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC). Additionally, they follow the industry's Code of Ethics.
The community has noticed that Bell Auto is not your usual used car dealership. Kamran has been named one of the Top 40 under 40. In addition, the dealership has won the Record Readers’ Choice Awards in 4 categories including: Best Used Car Dealership, Best Import Car Sales, Best Detailing and Overall Car Dealership. For the last four years running, they have won the Consumer Choice Awards for the best Used Car Dealership in the G.T.A and Surrounding Area.
“Essentially, it all comes down to customers,” says Kamran. “We’re proud to say that we’ve seen so many come back, and proud to say that we have worked to earn people’s respect.”
Kate Baggott's technology and business journalism has appeared in the Technology Review at MIT, the Globe and Mail, Canada Computes, the Vancouver Sun, and on the Business to Business News Network
Kate is the author of two short story collections.
Bell Auto Inc.
1127 FINCH AVE W
Toronto, ON M3J 2E8