Rusnak Auto Group Puts Premium on Cultural Sensitivity | Edmunds

Rusnak Auto Group Puts Premium on Cultural Sensitivity

Just the Facts:
  • Rusnak Auto Group in Arcadia, a Los Angeles suburb, caters to the area's growing Chinese community by highlighting cultural sensitivity.
  • The dealership features a staff that speaks various dialects to negotiate in a customer's native tongue.
  • The dealership also has altered advertisements and facilities to avoid what Chinese buyers may consider to be unlucky symbols, numbers and colors.

ARCADIA, California — While catering to customers is the hallmark of any good dealership, Rusnak Auto Group in suburban Los Angeles has taken it to the next level to win over the area's growing Chinese community.

At its Mercedes-Benz dealership here, Chinese customers make up 55 percent of new-car buyers.

The dealership has cultivated the growing Asian population by paying attention to all of the details.

About half of the dealership staff, right up to the sales managers, speaks a dialect of Chinese or Asian language, whether it's Cantonese, Mandarin, Malaysian, Taiwanese or Shanghainese.

"Some people prefer to negotiate in their native tongue," Brian Beatt, general manager of Rusnak/Arcadia, told Edmunds. "A good business person is going to take care of that customer segment."

Furthermore, because many of its customers prefer to pay cash, Rusnak has formed a banking partnership with China UnionPay that allows the customer to use a debit card.

"We try to take into consideration their culture and their sensitivities, like you would with anybody else," Beatt said.

The staff also has been schooled in some of the culture's nuances, Quincy Armstrong, Rusnak Auto Group's marketing director, told Edmunds.

"There are some things that are lucky and some that are unlucky, whether they are symbols, colors or numbers, so we've had to make some changes in our ads and in our facilities because of those sensitivities," he said.

Armstrong adds that to reach the potential Mainland Chinese customer, its auto group, with 15 locations featuring 11 car brands, including Porsche, Bentley and Maserati, advertises in Chinese-language publications. They include EDI City Newsweek, World Journal and Epoch Times newspapers and several magazines.

Often the ads have photos of the Chinese sales staff, including the general manager's name and his phone number, because a Chinese customer prefers to deal with top management, according to the dealer group.

Edmunds says: The best dealerships understand that being sensitive to the nuances of a customer base leads to future business and climbing sales numbers.

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