WATERTOWN – There has been a huge upheaval in the world of North Country car dealerships.
Local car dealerships owned by William B. “Billy” Fuccillo were sold out, nearly a year after his death.
Fuccillo Automotive Group sold a Mitsubishi dealership in Watertown and Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Ford dealerships to Adams.
The deal does not include Fuccillo Import in Watertown or Fuccillo Chevrolet in Adams, said Kevin Hadley, Fuccillo Auto Group sales manager.
The new owner was not interested in the Import dealership, while the future of the Chevy location could be clearer in three to six months, he said.
The deal was finalized on Thursday.
Wally’s Auto Group, owned by Wally Darwish, which has dealerships in New Jersey and Long Island, takes over.
The New York showrooms will use his first name in the title of the concessions. For example, it will be the Adams Ford of Wally.
Mr. Darwish met with local dealership employees on Friday, Mr. Hadley said.
“I worked for Billy for 22 years,” Mr. Hadley said. “(Wally) reminds me of Billy. He’s a great guy.
Since his passing last June, Fuccillo employees have gone through a troubling time as they mourn Mr. Fuccillo’s death and ponder the future of the company.
But now employees know what’s in store for dealers, Hadley said.
“It was a sigh of relief for the employees,” he said. “The employees I’ve spoken to, I think, are mostly motivated.”
All Fuccillo employees will remain with the new automotive group, he said.
Mr. Fuccillo died at the age of 65 after his health deteriorated for a long period. He was widely recognizable for his television commercials in which he promoted his company with the tagline “That’s Huge”. He started his automotive empire when he opened his first dealership on Route 11 in Adams in 1989.
Prior to his death, Mr. Fuccillo sold dealerships in New York and Florida. But the automotive group maintained 20 other sites in the two states.
The sale of local Fuccillo dealers is part of a total of 10 in New York that Wally’s has acquired. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Other Mitsubishi, Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Ford and Nissan dealerships were sold in Seneca Falls, Amsterdam, Schenectady, Latham, East Greenbush and Nelliston.
According to the company’s website, Wally’s is “New York’s new automotive shopping destination.”
Mr. Fuccillo’s son, William B. Fuccillo, remained president of the Fuccillo Auto Group.