A Matter of Taste

50 Years of Performance Auto Group

If you live in Niagara, chances are you have purchased a vehicle from Performance Auto Group. The company is deeply rooted in the business landscape of our region. As the Niagara community has grown and changed, Performance Auto Group has evolved in kind and, this year, celebrates its 50th anniversary.
It all started in 1964: two friends, Cam Champion and John Mann, who both had a passion for sports cars, decided to parlay that interest into a business. They had just finished travelling through Europe together following F1 Racing and visiting European automobile factories.
Cam Champion notes, “It was an interest in sports cars and racing that led us to opening our car business.”
Upon returning to Niagara in 1964, these long-time friends opened Performance Cars on a little lot on Lake Street offering brands such as MG, Triumph, Jaguar, Lotus, and Sunbeam.
While John and Cam have spent the last 50 years expanding and growing their business, it has been because of the more than 400 full- and part-time employees who have supported their journey.
John Mann notes, “We have been very fortunate over the years to have hired the right people at the right time. Our business is all about people, and we have very good people working for us.”
Performance has done a great job creating worthwhile opportunities for employees wanting to remain in Niagara. These jobs include retail sales, service, parts; collision and paint repair; vehicle restyling; management; accounting and administration; human resources; marketing and communications, including graphic design, photography, videography, digital media, and web technology; and the list goes on. There are opportunities in so many areas.
Performance is preparing for the future everyday in not only constantly updating their facilities, but in making sure that the employees who will be taking over the company when the founders retire will be committed to holding up the same level of customer service.
Rein Knol, one of the current Vice Presidents of Performance says, “Consumers are very knowledgeable about the vehicles they are buying. So what Performance has put into place is what we can control the most, which is the experience.”
For 50 years, Performance Auto Group’s business model has embraced a customer for life philosophy. “We have guests to whom we have sold their very first car, then the first car for their kids, and so on as their needs change,” states Mann, “We have had customers for life, and that’s what we look to do.”
The future for Performance Auto Group is unlimited. With many good things happening in Niagara and within the automotive industry, Performance will continue to adapt, change, grow, and contribute, always delivering on its slogan, “for people going places.”

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