Christopher Tonkin is a highly driven and entrepreneurial individual who has charted his own path to success. After initially pursuing a career in aviation, following his father and grandfather’s footsteps, he realized that his true passion lay in the automotive industry. He went on to attend the Automotive Business School of Canada followed by Griffith University, where he honed his skills and acquired the knowledge he needed to succeed in this highly competitive field. After graduation, he went to work for a family-owned dealership, Airdrie Dodge, near Calgary. During his 10-year tenure, he learned the ins and outs of operating a dealership and credited in particular, his mentor, Brad Styner, with helping to launch his career.
Today, Christopher oversees and operates Straightline Motor Group, which he established in 2016 quickly followed with the acquisition of his first operation, Straightline Dodge, in early 2017. “The goal has always been 10 stores in 10 years, which may seem ambitious because larger groups can acquire more easily,” he explains. “So far, we’re at six operations in six years, so we’re right on track.” The company currently operates with Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Volkswagen Canada, & KIA Canada, and is also in the aftermarket space with a NAPA Auto Pro, as well as a specialized sports car lot.
As president and CEO, Christopher brings his keen sense of vision and passion for innovation to each endeavor, constantly seeking out new opportunities and ways to grow his business while simultaneously remaining connected to his core set of values: Cultivating a company culture of inclusion and excellence while keeping his finger on the pulse of what is important to his employees and customers. In addition, he is passionate about providing his team with the critical tools they need to grow, including consistent training, check-ins, courses, and seminars. “The more I can trust our teams and high-end leaders with the performance of each operation, the more I can focus on bigger projects such as growth, acquisitions, high-end recruiting, facility or construction projects, and more,” he says.
The company’s recent awards include Dealer of the Year for KIA in Alberta, 2019-2023; Consumer Satisfaction Award, 2019-2023; and Kia Dealer of the Year for Canada, 2022, based on consumer feedback and ratings.
Despite his many professional commitments, Christopher is also a highly accomplished athlete, coach, and family man. Always making time for friends and family, he is known for his warm and welcoming personality, bringing his zest for life into any room.
President & CEO — Straightline Motor Group