Hi, this is Amy Riley. I'm here with David Reynolds of Metro Nissan of Redlands. How are you today, David?
I am doing excellent on this lovely Friday afternoon going into the weekend. We love Fridays.
Fridays are fantastic. I agree. So we're coming around now, we've been doing this podcast for a little while now. And so I think it's time we start talking about some of what's coming up in the future here for Nissan, for Metro Nissan Redlands. So what are you looking forward to when you start thinking about the future, about 2019?
Well, 2019 is definitely going to be an interesting part of Nissan's history. We've got a couple things that are some really big news coming up. Probably in the next couple of months we're getting the release of the 2019 Altima. It's another generation of the Altima. This is a car that's been around for two decades now and every time every five, six, seven years whenever they decide to change the body style, the model, it gets really exciting for us. The car looks entirely different than the previous year's, so this is-- and I've actually been able to see the car, probably about a year, a year and a half ago when they first redesigned it and saw it before it was released into the market. And I've got to tell you, this is probably one of the best cars that we have ever put out in existence in all the years of Nissan. So very exciting.
Wow, that's high praise [laughter]. Indeed.
And it's our flagship model, the Altima. It's where a lot of-- the last two decades, it's where it's all started with the redesign of the Altima years and years ago. So a lot of our recent success in the last decade has all been around that car. And any time that you-- from a manufacturer and franchise standpoint, when you go out and you redesign it and deliver it to the retailers, this is when it gets really fun for the consumers and the dealership.
Yeah, definitely. So in addition to-- you said it looks different--
--to the exterior design. What else can we expect from the new Altima?
There's going to be some new features in the vehicle. Some of the stuff you can actually go into Nissan USA and actually see the vehicle as it sits. They have some 3D-type applications that you can walk through and actually check out the vehicle. Our ProPILOT technology that Nissan revealed this year, that is an option on the vehicle as well. More and more companies are going towards driverless-type technology and there's a lot of that technology available in that product line this year. So that's really, really exciting. The other thing I forgot to mention is we just released the Nissan Kicks last month. So this is all the next generation of Nissan product and technology. And when we go to these conventions that national puts on, we get to see a lot of new technology coming out. And now, we remember four, five, six years ago when we first started hearing about it and now it's coming to fruition and that's exciting for us to see.
Kind of finally bring it to the consumer.
Yeah. That's very exciting. What's the main selling point, or what's the best thing about the Kicks?
The best thing about the Kicks is it's a new segment obviously for us. It's a segment that Nissan has kind of been focusing on for the last, I don't know, five or six years. And we are in an SUV-type environment where that segment is growing very, very fast. It's very popular among the millennial generation. And to come out and release a vehicle that has a base starting price of around $18,000 for an entry-level Kicks is very, very attractive because it's a very, very good car. It's like a sub-compact SUV that you can offer to the consumer at a very reasonable price and that comes with a lot of standard options.
Sounds incredible. So how about for Metro Nissan Redlands, specifically for this store, what's coming up?
Well, here at the store, we're still working on growing the sales department and service department due to some of our recent success with new-car sales volume. We're starting to see a very big increase in our new-car sales, so we're having to staff up. And we're looking for good-quality people that are looking forward to jump in this industry. The car business is a very, very good industry to be in. It's always dynamic. It's changing, growing. It's exciting times right now at Metro Nissan Redlands. Any time that you're growing, that's a good thing. And we're starting to see that really yield in the new-car volume at the dealership. So some really fun times here. We're just kind of planning the future and looking at 2019 and 2020, and these years go by-- these months and years all really blended together. They go by so fast. And it's really fun to see the staff getting to know each other. We're seeing the staff work really, really hard together. Our consumers are starting to get more and more happy with the way they're treated in the dealership. Obviously, happy employees is happy consumers. So we're starting to see the benefit of that. More and more customers are coming to the dealership and that's fun. And we're starting to get new customers from outside of the Redlands area, which that's always fun to see too, from our nearby communities. And also up in the High Desert, that's been an area we focused on for probably the last six months. And now we're starting to see some new-car volume come from up, up, up in the desert. So it's really fun.
Yeah, that's incredible. I mean, that definitely means your reputation is growing, and spreading [laughter], and--
Yeah. They always say, "You see it in the numbers." And I think that can't be more true than that. So it's fun to see and it's fun to start seeing some of the hard work with the staff start to reflect in the actual new-car sales numbers.
So when you look for staff, what makes somebody an ideal employee or worker for Metro Nissan Redlands?
Yeah, that's a good question. I'm still trying to figure that one out myself--
Okay [laughter]. Fair enough.,,,
--because we've had a lot of success with all different walks of life, and backgrounds, and jobs. And some of these people coming into this industry never worked at any job. They come straight out of a high school, and then we train them and put them through the system. But there is no-- I don't know. It's a tough question when you talk about ideal candidates. We get a lot of job applications every month and we go through them, and we try to find what makes them tick. And the biggest thing for us is we look for good values. If the person has good values, more likely they'll fit into our organization and the culture that we have here. We spend a lot of time training. We kind of like some of the employees that have not been in the car business before, that don't really realize how the car business works, because we can kind of mold them to our culture. And as long as they have some good values, we're willing to put in the work and train them and try to get them to a successful point in their career.
Sounds fantastic. Sounds like a great place to work if anybody out there is [laughter] interested.
Yes, very good place to work, yes.
Okay. So I know you mentioned the Kicks and the Altima redesign. Is there any other new line of cars coming or anything else we should be looking out for?
Yeah. We have some new stuff coming up in the-- nothing dramatically in 2019 as far as the new product line. There'll be some changes, some exterior and interior changes in some of the model lines, some refreshing done in some of the different vehicles. We do have some exciting news coming down the pipeline in a couple of years with the Frontier segment that we've been waiting for for quite a long time. That's exciting but unfortunately it's not going to be for 2019. But we'll obviously wait for that.
Something to look forward to?
Something to definitely look forward to. Nissan is working on redesigning pretty much all their model lines, so in the next couple years from every single model line we're going to have some type of the new redesign and the Altima was the first, really the first car to roll out on that vehicle. We're going to have a new body style for the Sentra, we're going to have a new body style for the Versa, the Maxima, Pathfinder, Frontier. So a lot of stuff coming out in the next few years with Nissan, so it's all great news.
And yeah, and you also mentioned the ProPILOT Assist technology. Can you talk a little bit more about that, about what benefit it offers if somebody was thinking about getting that option?
Sure, absolutely. ProPILOT is Nissan version of a more of an autonomous-type vehicle. It's their entryway and their segue into this technology that you're virtually seeing in a lot of manufacturers now. Some of the higher-line manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW, Teslas, you read about these driverless vehicles and this is what the technology is. It's not exactly a driverless car but it does have a lot of the technology features that these vehicles do come equipped with, the self-braking, the lane-- keeps you within the lanes and the car does a very, very good job of being more safer. Nissan is all about technology and safety and this is where they've done a good job in the past 10 years. They were the first manufacturer to enter the market in the electric segment, obviously-- naturally with the Leaf and they've sold-- they are the number one selling manufacturer for electric vehicles and they continue to evolve that platform. And the ProPILOT Assist is just another evolution of technology and all these, as we go and we develop our technology further and further into the years, I mean, these cars-- I mean, it's funny how when I grew up and you had to put a lot of effort into driving your car and five-speeds and manuals for pretty much 75% of the cars when you learn how to drive when you're 16 or 17. And now five-speeds are a thing of the past, everything's automated, everything's technology-driven and this is just Nissan's segue into provide that technology. The best way to experience is there's a lot of videos that are out there on YouTube on ProPILOT Assist. Nissan USA has a lot of information about it. When you get some free time, go and check it out. It's very impressive. We're very, very proud of what Nissan's done for the last few years.
It's very exciting. It's an exciting time to drive when you don't have to think about it as much [laughter].
Yes, yes. The more safety the better.
The more safety the better. Yeah, I definitely agree with that. Okay, so let's say I came in and I was looking for-- I was looking at the Altima, would you recommend I wait for the new 2019 or--?
It just depends on what you're trying to accomplish, I mean, every person has a different situation and the 2019's going to be here in the end of September, mid-part to the end of September. That's what I'm being told right now. So it is definitely something to look at and especially if you currently own an Altima already or a Nissan product and that's a vehicle you're looking to get into, I mean I would definitely wait. But if you're looking at trying to get into the Nissan brand or you have another model or make, I mean, the 2018s are a great car, too. We sell a lot of them. It's our second most-volume vehicle, so it depends on what you like. But if you come on down we'll show you the 2018 because we have it here right on the ground right now and we have the cars heavily discounted right now with the year-end clearance. It's the Bottom Line Sales Event that's going on right now and we're trying to make room for the 2019s.
Yeah [laughter]. We'll show you.
We'll show you [laughter].
So you said Altima's the second best-selling, so what is [first-tier?]?
Yeah, in this particular store in this area we sell a lot of Sentras. Sentras is the biggest bang for your buck. It's a very, very nice car for how much money you have to spend. Nissan has continued to lead that segment and be a top player in that segment for years, and years, and years, and it's just a very affordable car for what you get. There's a lot of standard features that a lot of other manufacturers don't offer with their vehicle at these price points, and that's what makes it popular.
So is there a Nissan vehicle that you think gets overlooked, maybe not as much attention or--?
Oh, that's an easy question. Our number one most overlooked vehicle is the Nissan Maxima. It's our luxury vehicle on our luxury lineup. The vehicle is very, very nice and for the price-- for the starting price point of, call it around $32,000 and they build these things all the way up to 44, 45 thousand. It is a lot of car that comes with a lot of features and it is very, very nice. So definitely, the Maxima gets overlooked versus the other competitors.
All right, so if I was interested in coming to-- just as a last chance here, I was going to come to Metro Nissan Redlands, I was looking at some different dealerships, tell me why should I come here.
Well, first of all, the amount of service and the level of service that you're going to get when you're here. All of our sales professionals are trained at a very, very high level to understand the product that we are selling. They also provide one of the best customer service related showings of the vehicle that you can possibly have. They're very, very knowledgeable of our product and they're very, very good at providing a great experience. Our job is to provide the customer, when they come down here to buy the largest purchase or second largest purchase in their lives, is to provide the best customer service that's possible, and I think they do an amazing job at it.
Well, great. Thank you very much for your time today, David, and we'll talk to you again next month.
Absolutely, thank you.