A giant in the car dealership business, Billy Fuccillo, dies

For close to four decades, Billy Fuccillo operated car dealerships in New York and would pitch buyers “yuuuuuuge-jahhh” savings in television and radio ads. He died Thursday at 65-years-old, his attorney said.

Robert Scalione, who was his lawyer for some 20 years, told the Albany Times Union that Fuccillo’s health had been declining for an extended period.

Based in Syracuse, Fuccillo Automotive Group was the largest privately owned dealership in New York state at its peak, the newspaper reported.

His gregarious presence in television ads and creative ploys to sell cars meant he was well-known in cities and towns across the state.

“I was having dinner in Saratoga last night and people kept coming up to my table, asking for autographs, shouting ‘huuuuuge!’ I get that wherever I go,” Fuccillo told the newspaper in a 2008 interview.

“People could laugh at him but, you know what? That man was one of the smartest men I have known because everybody knew his name. Marketing-wise, he hit it out of the park,” said Kim Perrella, vice president at the Eastern New York Coalition of Automotive Retailers, Inc. in Albany.

He bought his first wholesale car dealership in 1981 and eventually grew the business to include two dozen dealerships in the Capital Region, Central New York and Florida.

In the past two years, Fuccillo had sold seven dealerships, the newspaper reported.

Fuccillo sponsored local sports events, especially golf, and Scalione remembered him for his generosity.

Fuccillo said he sold 514 cars in a single day in 1996 at a dealership in Adams, located south of Watertown, New York, when stunt motorcyclist Robbie Knievel — son of Evel — jumped “a bunch of cars.”

Katherine E. Ackerman

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