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Audi Canada and Volkswagen Canada held their annual ride and drive fleet meeting at the Pillar and Post hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario recently. The event brought together fleet professionals from Ontario and Quebec to experience both brands firsthand. The meeting kicked off with a welcome reception followed by dinner at the Reif Estate Winery where guests were treated to dining in the vintners wine cellar.

When it came to the ride and drive, Audi took a sporty approach to the event, taking guests to the Niagara Regional Airport where they could drive Audi products on a special autocross course set up on one of the airports runways. Guests got to experience the full Audi lineup including a R8 V10+. Special guest Patrick Carpentier was on hand to give driving tips as well as hot laps in the R8.

“This was the 6th year of the Ride and Drive and it was a great success. It is always a pleasure to re-connect and spend time with our valued partners and customers,” said Jamie Pawluk, Manager, Corporate Sales, Audi Canada. "I saw a lot of smiles on people after getting a chance to push the R8 through a closed course! This event is a great way for us to present our cars and explain the benefits of offering them in a company’s fleet. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”

Volkswagen took a more serene approach with a drive route winding through beautiful Niagara region wine country. The exquisite Autumn scenery was a fitting backdrop for the extensive selection of VW vehicles available to drive.

“Once again, I feel this year’s event was a great success, the turn-out was outstanding as we had guests from Ontario and Quebec come together in - picture perfect - Niagara on the Lake,” said Thomas Roth, Manager, Fleet and Commercial Sales, VW Canada. “Our customers were given the opportunity to test all of our vehicles in real life driving situations and from the feedback they were very impressed. It was a great event and I am already excited and eager to do it again next year”

As part of the event, Audi and VW hosted short presentations; VW updated attendees on the TDI situation, product advancements, its dealer network and the company’s ongoing commitment to fleet customers. Future products, including the VW Tiguan set to debut in 2017 as a 2018 model, an as of yet unnamed midsize SUV and the VW eGolf were previewed. The VW session concluded with a brief rundown of when core models are to be redesigned (MY19 Jetta, MY19 Passat, MY19 CC Fastback), refreshed (MY18 Golf family), along with its Together 2025 Strategy, which has VW focusing on e-mobility, digitalization, networking and mobility services.

The Audi session reviewed the vehicles available at the ride and drive, including the A3 sedan (which has been updated inside and out), eTron (which has an electric range of up to 30 kilometres at 130 km/h), A4 sedan (is all-new and features Audi Virtual Cockpit), A6 sedan, S7 Sportback, S8+ sedan, Q5, Q7, TTS, and the always popular R8. A rundown of changes, price, available engines, fleet incentive, fuel economy, and amount of CO2 emissions were discussed for each model.

Thomas Roth, VW Canada, during the VW presentation.

(From left) Lawrence Chiaravalle, Kathryn Foster and and Rob Luba, ARI.

Jamie Pawluk, Audi Canada, during the Audi presentation.

(From left) David Mercy, Jim Peplinski Leasing, and Paul Belfer, EHI.

(From left) Danny Banks and Al Pink, Jim Pattison Lease.

(From left) Joe Tavares, William Furtado, Alishah Jiwani, Jean-Francois Dumas, and Dale-Amm Gilbert, Element Fleet Management.

(From left) Greg Vercaigne, GDV Fleet Solutions, Philippe Nadeau, Avis Budget Group, and Claude Bonneau, Element Fleet Management.

(From left) Rebecca Moorey, Loblaw, Debbie McLucas, TD Bank, and Connie Johns, Teresa Mathieson, June Siriunas and Joe Gatto, Element Fleet Management.

(From left) Sourene Chichmanian, Sourene Fleet Services, Loe Gualtieri, Element Fleet Management, Danny Sbrissa, LeasePlan, Tyrrell Hurley and Baljit Kang, Element Fleet Management.

(From left) Jamie Pawluk and Chloé Moussaed, Audi Canada, Patrick Carpentier, Daniel Morad, and Simon Dion-Veiens, Audi trainers.

(From left) Bill Meehan, Getinge Canada and Andrew Ogilvie EMKAY.

Andy Labram and Derek Wcislo, Foss National Leasing, Debbie Thomson, Ringball Corporation, Stephanie Celli and Deborah Pavao, Foss National Leasing.

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