It is open every day except Christmas, boasts a six-story parking deck for inventory and blankets Los Angeles with advertising.
Joe Sage projects sales of 10,000 new units this year. "We see a lot of growth with the brand," he says. "The new Versa small car (that goes on sale in the spring) will bring in new entry-level customers."
The family-owned Sage Auto Group is headed by dad, Morrie, 75, and his two sons, executive vice president Joe, 42, and vice president Lenny, 40.
They operate two Nissan dealerships and one Infiniti store in Los Angeles and opened a Mercedes store in Valencia, north of Los Angeles, in December. In the fall, the group will open a new Nissan store in West Covina, an eastern Los Angeles suburb.
But it is Universal City Nissan that stands front and center. Not only does it generate more sales than any other Nissan dealership; it is the largest customer for Nissan's captive finance company, according to Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.
As Nissan grew, so did the needs of the dealership. But, hemmed in by adjacent properties, the Sages had to find a way to expand the store. So they built upward.
To make room for more inventory, they built a six-story parking structure that can accommodate the dealership's inventory and provide parking for customers and employees. Before, many of the dealership's cars were stored in multiple locations.
The previous new-car showroom could house only two new vehicles; the new 7,000-square-foot building showcases four.
The new customer waiting area has a coffee bar, flat-screen TVs and a small cascading water wall. The second level of the dealership will feature vintage Nissan vehicles.
Jed Connelly, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nissan North America, attended the open house in December and was impressed.
"Universal is a 30-year dealership, and keeping it fresh is a challenge, especially when you have several new dealerships that are built fresh from the ground up," Connelly says.