Most Kia dealerships are in rural and second-tier urban areas because real estate in markets like New York and Chicago are just too expensive. With the contraction of Ford, GM and Chrysler dealerships in those areas, Kia retailers are finding that now is the time to enter the big time.
In particular, Kia appears to be interested in Saturn dealerships. Kia executives told Automotive News that they like Saturn stores because they're newer, more exclusive, and – more to the point – available. Kia is going after Saturn dealers in three ways: Current Kia dealers are opening up additional locations at former Saturn sites; Saturn dealers are converting their stores to sell Kias; and Kia is asking Saturn store owners to open a separate Kia store close-by, then share a common parts and service center.
One Kia dealer, Billy Fuccillo, has turned a Saturn dealer near Syracuse, NY into a $2.8 million super Kia dealership equipped with such indulgences as granite-lined bathrooms. Fuccillo already owns the top-selling Kia dealership in the US, and he says his new store, in a more prominent location, will fare even better. He plans to sell more than 3,000 vehicles per year and as many as 500 this month. As part of his opening marketing push, Fuccillo will give away five Kias and four Hyundais to one person. He's going to deliver all nine vehicles via car-hauler to the individual's home. That's a bit crazy, but converting Saturn dealerships to Kia stores seems to be anything but.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req. | Image Source: Bill Pugliano/Getty]