Billy Fuccillo is the kind of guy Kia likes. He already operates the nation's top-selling Kia store, in Schenectady, N.Y., and vows that his new Kia store, at a former Saturn dealership near Syracuse, will sell even more.
He's one of the point men in Kia's aggressive push to capitalize on unrest in the auto market. And converted Saturn stores seem to be playing a significant role.
"We've picked up a number of Saturn locations over the past several months in the East and West," says Tom Loveless, vice president of sales at Kia Motors America.
"There is no grand plan to take over one brand over another, but Saturn facilities tend to be more appropriately sized for our needs. They're also newer and exclusive. But the biggest thing is that this gives us is speed."
Fuccillo, 52, a hard-charging multifranchise dealer known for wacky marketing tactics — in one promotion he gave away a $250,000 house — says of his new Syracuse location:
"I saw the opportunity because the two Kia dealers in Syracuse had been selling only about 30 to 40 a month. Not only will I sell 450 to 500 this month; I will elevate the two others."
Fuccillo has roots in Syracuse. He was a tight end during his college days at Syracuse University, and his Hyundai dealership in Syracuse is one of the brand's largest. He says he spent $2.1 million this year for the real estate at his new Kia store, then did a $700,000 remodeling. "I put in granite bathrooms, drop ceilings — made it a showpiece," he says.
Fuccillo believes annual sales of his new Syracuse store will be more than the 3,000 units sold last year at his brand-leading Schenectady dealership.
As part of a month-long marketing promotion that highlights the Kia opening, one lucky person will win five new Kia and four new Hyundai cars. That's right: One winner, nine cars.
"I'm going to put nine cars on a truck and drop them off at somebody's house," Fuccillo said. "I don't care what they do with them."