By Natalie Strom
Love him or hate him, you have to admit, his success in Cape Coral has been “HUUUUGE, Florida, HUUUUGE!” You know the man: Billy Fucillo of the Cape Coral Kia dealership. With his trusty sidekick, Caroline, Billy has turned his low-budget television and radio ads into a sensation in Southwest Florida. His dealership, boasting three lots of new and used cars is as HUUUUGE as he says it is. And so are the car deals and prizes to be had if such car is purchased.
That is how I am going on a five-day, four-night cruise and a two-day shopping spree with a free hotel stay in Miami all for free! You saw the cheap commercials offering the deals. A few months ago, they were offering the cruise, and just a few weeks ago they were offering the $1,000 shopping spree. All you had to do was purchase a new Kia.
My friend Duffy needed a car, and I’m pretty savvy at haggling with the dreaded car salesmen (life-lesson I picked up from my dad), so Duffy asked me to come along. She wanted a four-door; something new and with a lot of trunk space. She and I are no millionaires that’s for sure, so I suggested we go see the spectacle that is Fucillo Kia because the cars are modestly priced and had good reviews.
We pulled up to quite the sight: huuuuge balloons everywhere, hot dogs, chips and soda for anyone and incredibly loud and obnoxious rap music. Jerry Lopez came right up to us as we pulled in and guided us to a parking space. He was to be our dreaded car salesman. I wasn’t worried; I could tell right off the bat that he was a nice person. So that was refreshing.
“Where are you from,” he asked. “Goodland,” we responded. Well, he had never heard of it, nor had anyone else we dealt with. They were quite intrigued by our town and our behavior as the experience moved forward. Not to ruin the rest of the article, but we all had a great time and a lot of laughs.
Jerry brought out a Kia Soul with all the bells and whistles for Duffy to test drive. He informed us it was $20,000. I said, “well Duffy, there’s certainly wiggle room here since the MSRP is only $17,000, and most people paid less than that.” Jerry was silent. Then he said the $3,000 difference was due to the sunroof and rear backup camera.
“Duffy, do you need those things?” I asked. “No,” she said.
“Jerry, can you please find us a car without these features? One in the $17,000 range?” I asked.
We sat down and waited; Jerry came back with what we asked for: $17,200. He also came back with the trade-in value of Duffy’s car and the necessary down payment. I said, “No. This trade-in is worth much more, so take the down payment and put it towards the price of the trade-in, and we’ll start talking when you can give us a zero down payment.
We got it.
Then I pulled out my secret weapon: “My dad (really step-dad) works for Jeep and we can go there and get a 10 percent discount on ANY car – new or used, Jeep brand or not.” That one threw our sweet Jerry for a loop.
In came John Reale, the Sales Manager. It so happens that he worked for Jeep for years and knew I was no liar. Needless to say, the base price we got for the vehicle was only $200 more than the factory price.
Then we saw Billy! He was huuuuge! Big, tall, loud and incredibly friendly. I screamed, “Billy! Billy! I want to meet you!” He came right over and I made him take silly pictures with Duffy and me.
Then, he informed us that Duffy’s purchase gave her the $1,000 shopping spree in Miami that included a free night stay at the Hyatt Regency and dinner with him and Caroline.
We won again!
Down to business. Sign this, sign that, sign the other one, then this one, here’s another one, here’s one more, now please sign here, and finally, sign this last piece of paper. Duffy got though them all without even a hand cramp, and as she signed the last piece of paper, in walked Jerry and John.
“Congratulations!” they shouted and handed us a strawberry pie. “But that’s not all,” said Jerry. “A few months ago, we gave away tickets to a cruise for everyone who purchased a Kia. We filled the boat but there are 30 spots left. This morning, Billy said to give the 30 spots away to those we felt deserve it. Congratulations! You’re going on the cruise, too!”
We won AGAIN!
As we left, I walked passed a clear office where Billy was sitting on the phone talking business. I waved. He pointed at me and gave me the thumbs up. He had to approve the cruise, and between Duffy’s charm and my own, Billy decided to bring us aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise. He’ll be there too, and I am going to find him an make him my new best friend.
Then we drove away in a brand new Kia Soul.
When you read this, Duffy and I will have just returned from our HUUUGE KIA CRUISE. Check out the next edition of Coastal Breeze to see if Billy and I are now best friends and to see if the deal was as HUUUUGE as he and Caroline always say.