Editor's note: Rinaldi Halim's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.
At Downey Nissan in Downey, Calif., two women — a Hispanic marketing director and a Nepalese general sales manager — have teamed up to lead a sales surge to Hispanic consumers.
Through August, Downey Nissan sold 1,899 new vehicles to Hispanic customers. That was almost double the 970 new vehicles in the year-earlier period. Through November, the store is the Nissan brand's leader in selling to Hispanic customers.
Nationwide, Hispanics have become a critical demographic in light-vehicle sales. At Honda, for example, "All of our sales growth over the last year has been [from sales to] Hispanics," says Vicki Poponi, vice president of automotive marketing operations for American Honda. Through November, Honda brand U.S. sales rose 1.4 percent, against an industrywide decline of 1.4 percent.
In the heavily Hispanic area near Los Angeles that surrounds Downey Nissan, attracting those shoppers has helped make a difference at the dealership. The store's success, though, stems from more than its diverse and bilingual staff.