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FUCCILLO SET TO OPEN TOYOTA STORE

Fuccillo Automotive expects to open its Toyota dealership on Grand Island as early as next week, and is working on plans for a Hyundai dealership and a larger Chevrolet location.

The Toyota opening comes on the heels of an October during which Fuccillo Chevrolet on Alvin Road sold 597 new Chevys, said William Fuccillo, president of Fuccillo Automotive.

Fuccillo Chevrolet was the highest-volume Chevy dealership in the nation in October, according to GM officials. Paddock Chevrolet in Kenmore was close behind in second place, GM said.

Including used vehicles, Fuccillo's Alvin Road location sold a total of 888 units in October, Fuccillo said.

Fuccillo said he plans to open its Toyota store between Nov. 10 and Nov. 15. He picked up the Toyota brand by acquiring Gambino Toyota in Niagara Falls, maintaining the region's number of Toyota dealers at five.

Starting next spring, Fuccillo hopes to start building a new Chevy location on Alvin Road that would be twice as large as his current Chevy dealership.

Fuccillo said he would then convert his current site into a Hyundai dealership. Erie County currently has two other Hyundai dealerships.

Fuccillo is working with agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replace wetlands that would be affected by the building of the new dealership, similar to what he has been required to do in previous phases of construction on Alvin Road.

Fuccillo said his high sales total in October was driven by a $850,000 ad blitz. He also brought in salespeople from other New York state locations to help staff the store during the month.

The National Automobile Dealers Association said the average dealership spent nearly $400,000 on advertising in all of 2003, and sold an average of 769 new vehicles during the year.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com