The giant Staluppi Auto Group has closed one of its Las Vegas dealerships after only nine months in operation.
Staluppi will consolidate business at its showcase Planet Hyundai store across town. But it has the factory's permission to reopen anytime in the next two years.
Centennial Hyundai, which opened last June on the northwest side of economically hard-hit Las Vegas, closed April 1. John Staluppi Jr., co-CEO of the Staluppi Auto Group, transferred operations and most of Centennial's 60 employees seven miles south to Planet Hyundai.
Planet Hyundai is the Korean brand's largest dealership in the world, with annual sales of about 5,000 new vehicles.
Staluppi did not surrender the Centennial Hyundai franchise. Hyundai Motor America agreed to let the dealership group reopen Centennial as the economy picks up, said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai's vice president of sales. If Staluppi does not reopen Centennial in two years, he agreed to sell the dealership and property to Hyundai, Zuchowski said.
"We, like the operator, recognize the difficult times we are in and hope he'll do well in the future," Zuchowski said. "I was there and I was shocked. One in every 30 homes in Las Vegas is in foreclosure."
Centennial opened last summer as Hyundai's fourth point in Las Vegas just as the high-growth local housing market collapsed. So far this year, Hyundai says, the area's total new-car volume is less than half of what it was in early 2008.
Staluppi Auto Group is No. 9 on Automotive News' list of the Top 125 Dealership Groups with 46,441 new retail units sold in 2008. Its revenue last year was $1.70 billion.