Planet Nissan Finance Director Lou Cushler is definitely in the car business for life, especially considering that he sold his first vehicle in 1975.
"I got into the car business after serving in the Army," explained Cushler, 61, a native of Santa Monica, Calif. "I picked up an ad in the paper which was offering a job in car sales. The general manager convinced me that I was perfect for the sales position and I sold my first car on my first day."
After about five years in the sales end of the car business, Cushler made the move to world of finance.
"I was really good with numbers, so the move to finance seemed like a natural," Cushler said.
However, he found the complex world of finance is just as tough as being a sales consultant, primarily because of the ever-changing banking industry.
"Things change on a weekly or daily basis" explained Cushler. "The cost of money is always changing and we must keep our eye on the ball all the time. For instance, right now zero percent financing is an excellent choice for well-qualified customers."
The interview process can be trying as it relates to finalizing a car deal. In fact, the finance person is one of the key individuals in the car buying process.
"We're a highly regulated faction of the car business," Cushler said. "It's important that we disclose every aspect of the transaction with the customer. We must be certain that the customer understands every part of the process and ever aspect of the transaction needs to be explained."
Cushler lauds Nissan saying the manufacturer makes the process simpler.
"With the incentives and advertising, Nissan has done an incredible job of working hand-in-hand with Nissan Financing," Cushler explained. "In addition, they are very supportive of their dealers."
Proof that the process is working well is the fact Planet Nissan was named the No. 1 new-car dealership in the state of Nevada in 2010, and it was recently named the No. 1 Nissan dealership on the West Coast and second in the country.
"Those are huge results," Cushler said. "This store has an incredible amount of return customers because they feel safe with us."
Even with all the challenges, Cushler loves the business.
"When I leave here, I'm able to let my mind rest. However, I also enjoy the times I have with customers when I can help get them into a car even though they might have credit challenges. Many people are afraid to shop for a vehicle because they're credit has been hurt, but we can still help -- especially with the aid of Tim Biddle, who is a very qualified subprime finance director," he said.
Planet Nissan is at 5850 Centennial Center Blvd. in the northwest valley. The dealership opened in 2003 and is part of Super Store Auto Group, which has five dealerships in Southern Nevada and 26 nationwide.
The dealership is headed by General Manager Sam Amer.
Further information regarding Planet Nissan can be found by calling 876-8000 or by visiting www.planet-nissan.com.