Raising the roof -- and raising sales

Dealer Stephen Taylor spent 50 hours on the roof of his Toledo, Ohio, area Kia store this May. He slept in a tent, brought up a work desk and even read the weather report for a local television station from up there.

He says the promotion worked: Taylor Kia sold 58 new cars in 50 hours, about twice what normally would sell in such a time frame.

This coming weekend, Taylor aims to attract about 500 KISS fans to his dealership. He's hosting a free concert by a KISS tribute band at what he's calling his “Kia Inventory Super Sale.” Listeners are welcome even if they're not in the market for a car today.

Taylor hopes such events get the dealership's name recognized in the community -- and that car buyers will remember it when they do need some new wheels. He's done similar promotions throughout his group, which has two Kia stores, a Hyundai store and a Cadillac store.

They work better than “same old, lame old” car ads, Taylor said. “We understand selling cars has to be fun. It has to be an event-type atmosphere all of the time.”

The proof is in the sales. Taylor sold 1,600 new Kias last year and is aiming for 2,000 in 2010.