(Article published in Automotive Innovations magazine, June 2023)

By Isabelle Havasy

Virginie Meunier, General Manager and co-shareholder of the Jean Dumas Saguenay Mitsubishi dealership in Chicoutimi for the past four years, has the brand tattooed, not on her heart, but on her wrist!

For Ms. Meunier, “the Outlander is the best vehicle in the world. It’s the most reliable!” Her eight years’ experience in the parts and service department on the mechanical side have enabled her to come to this unequivocal conclusion. But beyond the product, which she loves, there’s “the big Mitsubishi family” that she loves just as much. Its members have supported her every step of the way. “When you want to move forward, they’re always there to help you. They’re the reason I believe in the product and the reason I’m sitting here today.”

Unconditional support

Since joining Mitsubishi in 2010, Ms. Meunier has rubbed shoulders with “some extraordinary people,” including Mr. John May, Regional Sales Manager. “He sat down with me and showed me everything. He invested a lot of his time because he considered that I had the potential to become more than just a parts and service manager.” But as a woman, Meunier says she had to work hard to get into the General Manager position, which is often reserved for the owner himself or one of his immediate family members. It’s rare to see a woman with such a title that doesn’t have that affiliation, according to Ms. Meunier. “And to become a shareholder, I had to prove myself and work even harder.”

Before joining the Japanese automaker, the Lac-Saint-Jean native was employed at a dealership. As a single parent with two children to support, she struggled to make ends meet. During a transmission oil change, she was misled by the service guy and ended up with a hefty bill well beyond her means. This unfortunate adventure would become her source of motivation and guide her career, to ensure “that women are welcomed and receive fair service” on every visit.

Honesty, transparency, and trust

Providing a customer experience in which honesty and transparency are paramount is at the heart of Ms. Meunier’s concerns. She also stresses the importance of establishing a bond of trust. “I want to meet and get to know every customer who walks through the door, so that they feel part of the family and that this is their home.” This human-centred business philosophy is one of the cornerstones of her success. “In 2022, we were ranked 3rd among the 95 Mitsubishi dealers in Canada. And until May [2023], we were number one.”

Meunier concludes that to achieve her goals, you simply have to believe: “I believe in the manufacturer, in my product, in my team, and in my customers. I believe there are never problems, only solutions!”

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