New Roads charts new path with Mazda purchase

January 7, 2015   ·   0 Comments


By Brock Weir

When Michael Croxon founded the New Roads Automotive Group, his vision was to be "all things automotive in the Northern 905."

By his own admission, it was a "pretty grandiose personal vision" but is now one step closer to reality.

This week, Newmarket's Dave Wood Mazda came into the New Roads fold, a group which tends to the automotive needs of customers in Aurora, Newmarket and northern Richmond Hill.

For Mr. Croxon, the acquisition is not only a way to build on the 30-year legacy Mr. Wood has built as an automotive dealer in York Region, but also an opportunity to "further deepen" the brand in the minds of consumers in the northern 905.

"It is another outlet that we can use to immerse ourselves in the community, which is one of our pillars," says Mr. Croxon. "Adding Mazda to Subaru, Kia, General Motors and all the GM brands is a nice fit. This is our second Japanese nameplate. Subaru kind of stands on its own in terms of the customers and Mazda appeals to an entirely different clientele in my estimation."

It was not always an easy road for Mazda, adds Croxon. When the company was under the Ford umbrella, it was essentially a "secondary brand" for the company, one which was "starved of investment for future product." When it was eventually spun off on its own before being brought back during the "Ford Crisis" years, Mazda brass took the opportunity to reassess themselves and re-evaluate who they wanted to be and how they wanted to serve the automotive market.

"The answer was being a very high quality, high performing Japanese automobile brand, but it has taken them a few years to find their stride," he says. "If you look at the product they have been coming out with of late, from a design and technology standpoint, I think they are poised for a greater market share in the coming years. They have got some exciting new product coming out shortly, so our acquisition is well-timed from that perspective."

The relationship between Croxon and Wood goes back a number of years. The two men are partners in Newmarket Auto Body. Knowing Croxon was in "acquisition mode" to broaden the brand, Wood approached him to see if he would be interested in jumping into Mazda and he jumped at the idea.

"It is a very, very well-run dealership with a very loyal staff and a very loyal customer base, and I think that speaks to Dave as an individual and as a leader," says Croxon. "We have a pretty loyal customer base ourselves and we foster it through good old fashioned customer service and doing things we think are right by the customer in terms of their experience, our showrooms and our service departments.

"It is an automobile, so we're never perfect, and we acknowledge we're never perfect, but it is how you react to those imperfections that set you apart from the competitors. Employee engagement leads to customer enthusiasm. Customer enthusiasm leads to performance in terms of how we manage ourselves, whether that be financially, or customer satisfaction, and performance enables us to contribute back in the community. The whole thing just operates full circle."

In addition to the acquisition of Dave Wood Mazda, 2015 is set to be a year of further growth for New Roads with the opening of a new facility for Richmond Hill Subaru, currently slated for May, and a renovation to their General Motors store in Newmarket beginning mid-spring. These renovations will include 16,000 square feet of new space, including drive-thru lube lanes, tire centre, customer lounge, and a new showroom specially designed to house their Cadillac brand.

Plans are also underway for a new Subaru dealership in Newmarket in 2016.

Jan 15, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Mazda dealer Dave Wood 'very happy' following sale to NewRoads


For more information on NewRoads, visit Further details on Pre-Owned can be found at
Newmarket Era

Look at the back of a car in northern York Region - there's a fair chance Dave Wood's name is on it.

The Newmarket car dealer, who has been selling automobiles since 1968, has sold his Mulock Drive Mazda dealership to NewRoads Automotive Group. The sale was finalized a few days ago.

Wood began selling Mazda vehicles in 1980 and was initially attracted to their fuel economy, given the energy crisis that gripped North America in the 1970s.

"I was in the used car business back then and to get anything small from a dealership, you had to buy three old, big lumps," Wood said, sitting in his former office overlooking the Mazda showroom, Wednesday afternoon. "Small cars were the direction because of the fuel prices."  

Wood will continue to operate the Dave Wood Pre-Owned used car lot, also on Mulock, as well as a leasing company.

"I decided it was time to take a step back and move on," he said. "I'm very happy with (the NewRoads) philosophy and what I see. I'll miss the people."

Michael Croxon, president and CEO of NewRoads, is excited to acquire the Mazda dealership and says Wood has worked hard to gain a reputation for excellent customer service. The dealership employs more than 35 people and only "tweaks" to the operation are expected.

"I wanted to amass automotive brands but be geographically specific with it and focus on the northern 905," Croxon said. "When Dave approached me about acquiring the store, I was enthusiastic. It was an opportunity to extend our footprint. I'm obviously very familiar with Dave. One thing we do, as dealers, is look at the back of cars in the community. We see an awful lot of Dave Wood nameplates. You don't see that if somebody's not a really good operator. I knew we were purchasing a good dealership; their values are very much aligned with NewRoads, which will make the transition easy."

Wood says the industry has changed substantially over the last few decades. Consumers are well informed now and often know more about some vehicles than sales associates.

"They look at reports and have totally researched the car," Wood said. "In the old days, if your father bought a Ford, so did you. Kids today don't want to buy their dad's car; they buy what they want."

NewRoads also operates Kia and Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC dealerships in Newmarket and a Subaru location in Richmond Hill. 

5 best used cars for teen drivers

Smart choices for safe, reliable transportation

Published: July 16, 2014 12:00 PM

School's out for summer, and teens have places to go. Whether heading to a friend's house, commuting to work, or preparing for school in the fall, many young drivers need (or at least want) their own car. While there can be the temptation to buy whatever cheap model is being advertised in your neighborhood, or to provide a hand-me-down car, choosing the best used cars for teens warrants a bit more strategy.

Understandably, budget is a huge family concern when buying a car for a teen, especially with looming college costs and the realization that the car may lead a tough service life. Within that budget, we recommend buying the safest, most reliable model possible.

Teens are far more likely to be in a car accident than mature adults, thanks to their lack of driving experience and inability to accurately judge risk. Therefore, they need the best protection possible. We strongly urge you to buy a car with electronic stability control (ESC), technology that helps the driver maintain control, greatly decreasing the risk of a crash. Helpful for anyone, ESC is key for those drivers with little experience. While this limits choices to newer or more high-end vehicles, we think this technology is worth it.

Other key safety equipment includes antilock brakes, standard on any car with ESC. If you can get a car equipped with multistage advanced front air bags, plus side and head-protection curtain air bags, so much the better. The lifesaving potential assistance those systems can provide is worth every penny in an emergency situation.

For young, relatively inexperienced drivers, steer clear of pickups because they are more prone to roll over than other vehicles. Sports cars and sporty variants increase the risk of speeding and have a higher rate of accidents, and consequently, they carry tuition-sapping insurance premiums. Large old sedans or SUV "tanks" seem tempting, but newer and smaller models are actually safer, thanks to better crash structure and modern technology. Finally, avoid three-row or XL SUVs; the more passengers in a teen-driven vehicle, the higher the risk of a crash.

A small or midsized sedan is the sweet spot for safety, controllability, visibility, and affordability.

With these factors in mind, Consumer Reports maintains a list of recommended new and used cars for teens. Whittling these down further, we have identified five great used cars that are smart choices for a young driver. Each has met all the qualifications mentioned above across several model years. (More information on these, and other recommendations, can be found at

Keep in mind that every used car gets treated differently. The older a car gets, the more its care and maintenance history will affect its overall performance and reliability. Be sure to have the specific car you are considering purchasing thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic before you make the purchase.

Ford Focus (2009-2011)

A competent small car, the Ford Focus from this period has better-than-average reliability and crash-test scores. It is, admittedly, a boring car, and that helps make it perfect for a young driver. The Focus has fairly balanced handling when pushed to its limits. We zeroed-in on the 2009 model as that model year marks the introduction of stability control. Teens may appreciate that an early version of Ford's Sync infotainment system with voice controls and USB input is available.

Hyundai Elantra (2008 or later)

We need to be a bit specific on this recommendation, concentrating on the Elantra SE from 2008-2010, or any version 2011 or newer. That is because stability control was not readily available for all trim levels-just the SE-until it became standard for 2011. Since we're being picky, the Elantra fared better in side crash tests starting in 2010. Fuel economy improved markedly with a 2011 redesign, as did styling and packaging. These two Elantra generations are appealing alternatives to more popular competitors because relatively lower retail values make them attractive buys on the used market.

Mazda3 (2011 or later)

One of our favorite small cars, the Mazda3 has precise, responsive handling and a firm, comfortable ride. Interior quality is very good overall, although the cabin is noisy and the rear seat somewhat tight. For 2012, Mazda added a new 2.0-liter Skyactiv engine and six-speed automatic transmission that boosted fuel economy to an impressive 32 mpg. If you're shopping for an earlier model, look for one with antilock brakes, stability control, and the available curtain air bags, as the Mazda3 received a Poor rating in the IIHS side-crash test without them. Skip the zippy Mazdaspeed3.

Mazda6 (4 cyl., 2009-2013)

Stepping up to a midsized sedan brings more interior and cargo space. Redesigned for 2009, this Mazda6 is roomier, quieter, and quicker than the generation it replaced. Teens will appreciate that it is relatively fun to drive, while parents will appreciate its more practical qualities including decent reliability. Bypass the V6 and get the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which delivers better-than-average acceleration, while returning a decent 24 mpg overall.

Subaru Impreza (non-turbo, 2009 or later)

Looking for the foul-weather capability of all-wheel drive? Consider the Subaru Impreza in either sedan or hatchback form. This small car provides nimble handling and a composed ride. Further, it has an enviable reliability and crash-test record. Fuel economy on pre-2012 models wasn't great. The 2012 makeover made a good car better, with an improved ride, responsive handling, increased interior space, and an efficient continuously variable transmission. Steer clear of the entertaining turbocharged WRX models, as they can inspire misbehavior.



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