Word-of-mouth key to selling Nissan GT-R


Lawrence Papoff

Ask Jimmy He, GT-R sales specialist at Willowdale Nissan in the north end of Toronto, how the dealership was able to sell 34 of the muscular sports with a sticker price that starts at $112,439.

“Word of mouth,” is his answer. “It is key.”    

The dealership began selling GT-Rs in 2012. One of the first things, management did was open the Willowdale GT-R club.

“We have car events and photo shoots and dinners where members can meet new friends and share GT-R knowledge and experiences.”

He recalls it was slow going at first with only five members, but the members’ list grew with the sales.

“Now, we are well known in the sports car community in the Greater Toronto Area.”

The efforts paid off as the dealership won an award for selling the most GT-Rs – 34 out of a total of 130 units retailed in all of Canada in 2015.

Dealer Mark Falkenberg says that after He sells a car, he takes the owner under his wing to make sure they get to enjoy the car without breaking any laws.

“Taking care of the customer is a huge responsibility for us. We discourage illegal driving,” He says.

“We help people learn how to drive the car to produce the best performance because this is not a normal vehicle.”

For the dealership, there are specialized computers, tools, a hoist and a wheel balancer. But He, who drives one himself, says the car is easier to maintain that most cars in its category.

For those who want to drive the car in the winter, He warns winter tires are a must or the car is unsafe at any speed.

He says the typical owner is a 25 to 30-year-old male. The financing of the vehicle is less of a concern than the challenge of qualifying a would-be buyer for a test drive.

“The general manager decides whether there will be a drive or not because of the power of the car. The shopper must be screened. We need to know the customer’s driving record because it’s dangerous to have an unknown at the wheel. This is a very quick accelerating sports car.”