The Mark Motors Story
Mark Motors founder Louis Mrak was born in Maribor, Slovenia, just sixteen kilometres from the Austrian border. There, a foster family, who had seven children of their own, raised him. Louis later moved to Austria to escape Communist rule. His time in Austria was fulfilling, as pursued an education at a mechanics college and earned a good job.
At the age of 21, Louis was hungry to travel the world. In 1956, he boarded the SS Columbia, one of the smallest ocean liners crossing the Atlantic, and landed in Montreal. He then took the train from Montreal to Bourget, where the train slowed down just enough for him to jump off. He came to Canada with no knowledge of the English language, a suitcase, and a few dollars in his pocket.
Louis learned English as he worked at a service center in Rockland. In 1957, Louis met his future wife Margaret, who also came to Canada from Hanover, Germany around the same time. She supported him during the earlier years with his room and board, as she was employed by the Chateau Laurier at the time. Louis and Margaret married in 1959.
That year was a monumental one for Louis and the Mrak family, as he also opened the doors to his business in Ottawa and called it Mark Motors. He originally opened the business as a central European car service centre, where he had just two mechanics that worked alongside him. One year later, Louis Mrak moved Mark Motors to 611 Montreal Road and hired two more mechanics to make up a team of five technicians who repaired European cars.
Over Mark Motors history, Louis Mrak represented some of the greatest automakers in the world: BMW, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, and Lloyd – but his focus and passion always lay with Porsche and Audi. In 1974, Porsche gave Louis the franchise to sell and service the renowned sports car. The Audi franchise offer followed shortly thereafter, in 1976.
Louis instilled a passion for quality work, keeping his word, and giving back to his new home. He called those three pillars “the basics” and in 2005 “the basics” allowed the family business to further grow with a stand-alone Audi flagship store on Hunt Club Road.
The mark of excellence, established by Louis was passed on to his and Margaret’s four children: Michael (Dealer Principal), Liza (Executive Vice President), Andreas (Body Shop Manager), and Vincent (Assistant Body Shop Manager). Louis’s career was also his hobby and his children lived and breathed his hobby as well. His mark of excellence was passed on and never forgotten with his four children.
Sadly, in 2012, Louis Mrak passed away at the young age of 77. He is, and always will be remembered as, a man of great pride, dignity, and deep family values. Louis always valued the importance of discipline and hard work. He never missed a day of work, and even came in on Sundays if necessary. He is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Margaret, their four children and grandchildren who are honoured to continue his legacy of hard work and respect inside and outside the family business. The tradition of his values lives on with the culture of the business.
In 2016, the Mark Motors Group opened Audi Ottawa, a brand-new stand-alone flagship store, just down the road from Mark Motors Porsche. The dealership has a futuristic feel, featuring the terminal look made to complement the classic and forward-thinking Audi brand and car design. It’s filled with inviting spaces, plenty of parking, and an Audi Café which will delight your taste buds with an array of sandwiches, baked goods, salads, and speciality coffees.
The wheels of the Mark Motors Group never stop. In 2017, the they were awarded the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brand for the Ottawa/Gatineau region as well as the Jaguar and Land Rover open point on the west end of Ottawa. Alfa Romeo Ottawa and Maserati Ottawa opened the doors right beside Audi Ottawa on Montreal Road in May 2018. This exciting dealership offers the region access to these iconic Italian brands.
Less than a year later, the Mark Motors Group expanded once again. This time with an innovative experiential location. In March 2019, Audi City Ottawa became the first store of its kind in North America. It allows clients the opportunity to experience the Audi brand in a state-of-the-art, downtown location, while still offering test drives of the latest models.
In another major move, Audi Mark Motors of Ottawa relocated to a brand-new building featuring a two-floor showroom and 21 service bays. Renamed Audi West Ottawa, it is the tallest dealership in the area and provides customers the best Audi experience yet.
With Audi Mark Motors of Ottawa now vacant, the renovations begun for the current Jaguar Land Rover Hunt Club to be born. The newest addition to the Mark Motors Group brings these premium luxury brands to Ottawa’s west end and adds to the impressive portfolio of automakers within our organization.