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 Staluppi’s New York stores were down slightly this year, although his Atlantic Automall dealership ranks 17th on this year’s Ward’s Dealer 500, strong enough to finish fifth in new vehicles sold, with 8,389 units.

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.”

Top 25 by New Units Sold
Dealer
500
Rank
Dealership New
Units
1 1 Longo Toyota 23,689
2 6 Dave Smith Motors 9,379
3 49 Rick Case Honda 8,795
4 5 Galpin Ford 8,599
5 17 Atlantic Automall 8,389
6 8 #1 Cochran 8,047
7 4 JM Lexus 7,328
8 25 Power Toyota Cerritos 7,181
9 11 Courtesy Chevrolet 7,115
10 7 Longo Lexus 7,083
11 43 Toyota of Orange 6,532
12 27 Norm Reeves Honda Superstore 6,445
13 34 Millennium Superstore 6,355
14 39 Ira Toyota 6,281
15 16 Midway Chevrolet 5,949
16 2 Fletcher Jones Motorcars 5,927
17 44 Power Toyota Tempe 5,683
18 31 Al Serra Auto Plaza 5,657
19 154 Planet Hyundai 5,629
20 51 Sterling McCall Toyota 5,447
21 52 Koons Tysons Toyota 5,435
22 40 Criswell Chevrolet 5,313
23 28 Akins Ford Dodge Jeep Chrysler 5,309
24 45 Fred Haas Motors, Ltd. 5,234
25 23 Michael Cadillac, Inc. 5,223

As a result, his company is looking to recruit the right kind of people, with the right attitude and work ethic and then train them on the new processes, he says.

One new process 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 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 or 35 dealerships, up from the 22 we have now.”

Staluppi says he hopes to acquire some premier dealerships from brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Meanwhile, the group is reducing the amount of inventory it keeps on hand to approximately 1,000 units a month, mainly because it paid more than $700,000 in floorplan interest in the year’s first quarter.

When 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%,” he says.

cbanks@wardsauto.com