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Nissan of Valencia quadruples sales

Posted: April 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
General Manager Dan Sterkel, back row, second from left, and his team at Nissan of Valencia. General Manager Dan Sterkel, back row, second from left, and his team at Nissan of Valencia.
General Manager Dan Sterkel, back row, second from left, and his team at Nissan of Valencia.

Nissan of Valencia has been smashing sales records. In fact, the all new dealership team quadrupled the number of average cars sold by selling 115 vehicles in March, breaking the auto store’s average sales of 30-40 units per month under the previous ownership.

“It’s a huge increase,” said Dan Sterkel, general manager of Nissan of Valencia. “It’s the first time the store’s been in triple digits since August of 2008.”

A new team took over the dealership in October 2010, from a new owner to general manager, salespeople, technical, service and office staff walked in the doors.

Nissan of Valencia says it’s been wooing back customers by pricing autos competitively and aggressively, so that residents can find a deal worth signing locally in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The dealership said it has also focused heavily on winning the hearts of buyers by making the sales process easy and offering lots of customer service.

“Nissan is extremely pleased with the new ownership of Nissan of Valencia. They are a great addition to the Nissan family,” said Robin Crowell, dealer operations manager for Nissan North America’s Los Angeles-area region.

“In the first six months of business, they have nearly tripled sales in the Valencia/Santa Clarita-area market and are now among one (of) our top leaders in customer satisfaction in both sales and service,” Crowell said. “We are looking forward to what’s to come.”

Customer Testimonial
Customer Gerry Goss agrees.

Goss bought Nissan’s sporty little SUV, the Rogue Krom, for his wife, but she didn’t care for the cloth fabrics on the seats when they first looked at the vehicle.

“The guys at Nissan bent over backward and hooked us up with someone to install leather seats in the car,” Goss said.

The sales manager became busy so the general manager, Dan Sterkel, stepped in and ran the whole show, Goss said. He even took care of all the paperwork.

Nissan of Valencia also provided the couple with a rental car while the dealer had the new car’s seats reupholstered.

“They weren’t pushy, not pushy at all,” Goss said.

And Goss knows something about buying vehicles locally.

A local resident for 33 years, Goss owns Central Screen Company in Glendale, but has purchased his company’s fleet of trucks locally over the years. The residential door and window company turns its trucks around every three to five years, Goss said.

This year, Goss said he and his wife visited several dealerships before returning to Nissan of Valencia.

“They did a great job,” Goss said. “I’ve never been that pleased working with an auto dealer before.”

Goss was Nissan of Valencia’s 100th customer for the month of March.

“That was a big thing for us, because we haven’t hit the triple mark since August of 2008,” Sterkel said.

‘All New’

Nissan of Valencia has been touting its all-new team since taking over the dealership.

Asked how much of the dealership’s success Sterkel attributes to the uptick in auto business and how much he attributes to the new team’s efforts, he said he believes it’s both factors.

“I think those two things go hand-in-hand,” Sterkel said. “With our aggressive pricing and the economy getting better, I just think it’s just a perfect match.”

Nissan of Valencia posts all its prices online along with photos of the cars, interiors and the manufacturers’ suggested retail price. The dealer wants to give shoppers a full comparison when window-shopping online.

“A lot of times, dealers give customers a price on a certain model, but it doesn’t have the additions that we have on our car,” Sterkel said. “The customer gets to the dealership only to find there’s other things on the car and the online price wasn’t the final price.”

The dealer’s advertising emphasizes that prices do not apply to only one or two cars, but that the advertised prices are applicable to “all in stock,” simplifying the shopping and comparison experiences for customers.

Nissan Leaf
Nissan of Valencia expects to begin delivering the new Nissan Leaf to 15-20 customers between April and May.

Nissan landed fourth on Fast Company’s list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in March for its insistence on forging ahead and building the all-electric vehicle.

Fast Company publishes a business magazine focused on progressive media brands, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethical economics, leadership and design.

Nissan shares the innovative recognition stage with Apple, Twitter, and Facebook, which came in first through third places. Google sits in the sixth spot, behind Nissan’s fourth-place win.

“The Leaf’s supposed to be out here this month, and we’re hoping to sell our first one by mid-April, hopefully before Earth Day,” Sterkel said.

The 100-percent electric, no-gas vehicle is eligible for some $7,000 in tax credits, earned up front with the purchase of the car, said Sterkel.

Although the timing may be right for buyers given the rising cost of gas recently, customers who have not already reserved the car may have to wait. The Leaf is made in Japan, and any orders made after May will be delayed by damage caused by March’s earthquake and tsunami, Sterkel said.

Local auto dealers contribute 24 percent annually to the city of Santa Clarita’s general fund, according to Ken Striplin, assistant city manager. The general fund keeps city services operating for residents.

Nissan of Valencia has hired 40 people since the new team took over in October.

“Service has gone way up now,” Sterkel said. “And we’re one of the highest Nissan dealers in new-car-sales satisfaction.”


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