Getting Rid of Bad Habits Means More Sales

John Staluppi has 12 dealerships (one more than last year) on this year's Ward's Dealer 500 ranking, spread throughout New York and Las Vegas. The overall organization generated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2005, ranking 14th on the Ward's Megadealer 100. Sales at the Staluppi Auto Group's New York stores were down slightly this year, although his Atlantic Automall dealership, 17th on this year's Ward's

John Staluppi has 12 dealerships (one more than last year) on this year's Ward's Dealer 500 ranking, spread throughout New York and Las Vegas.

The overall organization generated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2005, ranking 14th on the Ward's Megadealer 100.

Sales at the Staluppi Auto Group's New York stores were down slightly this year, although his Atlantic Automall dealership, 17th on this year's Ward's Dealer 500, strong enough to finish fifth in new units sold this with 8,389.

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas dealerships, Planet Hyundai (154th) and Planet Nissan (204th), run by his son, John Staluppi Jr., both saw revenue rise in 2005, and should have a 10% increase in 2006, Staluppi says.

But with business down in the Northeast, he says the group is cutting expenses and looking for new ways to advertise.

“We really are starting to become more process-driven here,” he says. “We have a ways to go, but we are getting better. “There are a lot of old-time people in the industry with a lot of bad habits,” Staluppi says. As a result, his company is looking to recruit and train the kind of people who are better-suited for selling with the new processes.

One of those new processes is developing and managing Internet leads, “because that is less expensive than traditional advertising,” Staluppi says. “We spend a lot of money on advertising, and that is one of the biggest areas we can do better on.”

Ironically, Staluppi is looking to add stores to help reduce his advertising expenses. He believes having more dealerships in the mix can provide deeper ad discounts.

“We are in a buy mode right now, “ he says. “We are trying to increase our business and are looking at markets where we can add three or four stores. I think we can get to 30 to 35 dealerships up from the 22 we have now.”

Staluppi says he hopes to add some premier franchises, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Meanwhile, the group is reducing its inventory to approximately 1,000 units a month, mainly because the group paid more than $700,000 in floor-plan interest in the first quarter of 2006.

Asked if the increase in interest rates coupled with the slight turndown in sales concerns him, Staluppi laughs, “I was in this business when interest rates went to 21%.”

Top 10 New Units

Overall Rank Dealership New Units
1 Longo Toyota 23,689
6 Dave Smith Motors 9,379
49 Rick Case Honda 8,795
5 Galpin Ford 8,599
17 Atlantic Automall 8,389
8 #1 Cochran 8,047
4 JM Lexus 7,328
25 Power Toyota Cerritos 7,181
11 Courtesy Chevrolet 7,115
7 Longo Lexus 7,083
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