The late Billy Fuccillo would have had one word for this real estate deal, and it would have been “huge.”
Kia of Cape Coral, which Fuccillo owned from December 2010 until before his death at age 65 in June 2021, changed hands again.
Morgan Automotive Group paid $14.5 million for the Cape Coral land at 404 NE Pine Island Road and $22.35 for the Kia of Port Charlotte land at 202 Tamiami Trail, which also had belonged to Fuccillo. Both deals were recorded Dec. 19, property records show.
Morgan made the purchases from LMP Automotive Holdings. LMP Automotive bought the Cape Coral land from Fuccillo’s company for $13.1 million in March 2021, an increase of about 11% in value in less than two years.
The Fort Lauderdale-based publicly traded company is dissolving and liquidating its assets, while Morgan Automotive Group continues to expand.
LMP Automotive will begin distributing the profits to shareholders at the start of 2023, company officials said. CEO Sam Tawfik did not return calls seeking comment.
The business terms of the sale were not disclosed as part of a confidentiality agreement, said Larry Morgan, owner and founder of Morgan Automotive. The founder of Tires Plus sold that business in 2000 and attempted to retire, only to start selling cars instead of tires.
“Our business has been good,” Morgan said. “We’ve been growing like a weed. We’ve been having fun.
“The quality has been really good. We have a lot of great brands. We’re all over the state of Florida now. Soon we’ll have 65 stores in Florida.”
That’s up from about 30 stores in April 2018 when Morgan bought Honda of Fort Myers. He also purchased the adjacent Subaru, Hyundai and Mazda dealerships, formerly known as O’Brien Auto Park, at the southwest corner of Colonial Boulevard and Metro Parkway in December 2020.
“The last two years have been very unique,” Morgan said. “From a possibility standpoint, they’ve been really good. They’ve also thrown quite a few curveballs at us. We went from having no cars to sell to having used cars that were worth more three years after compared to what they paid for them when they bought them. Now the prices are coming back down again.”
Morgan said he had met Fuccillo but didn’t know him very well. He acknowledged Fuccillo’s renowned success, as the Cape Coral Kia dealership had been the world’s No. 1 in terms of sales volume for about seven years.
Morgan plans to retain the employees there and add more. But there are no plans to replicate Fuccillo’s catchphrase of “Huuuugja!,” which the car dealer said in frequent television commercials that blanketed the airwaves.
“We won’t be doing what I would describe as the crazy antics that they did,” Morgan said. “We take a more refined approach to our marketing. In today’s world, it’s what I would call e-commerce. Digital marketing much more than TV. It’s instant news and instant marketing and things of that nature is where the industry focuses more today than print or TV advertising.”
Morgan had considered buying the Kia dealership when it first went up for sale in 2021, but the timing wasn’t right then.
“We had several other acquisitions on our plate,” Morgan said of the time. “We didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew. They became available again, and we jumped on them.”
Over the next two years, Morgan Automotive Group intends to expand the Kia of Cape Coral store. The eastern walls will be extended by about 150 feet, allowing for more car service bays. And the showroom will be expanded as well, said Matt Mickelson, regional director for Morgan.
“We’re really focused on representing the brand well,” Mickelson said. “This is our seventh Kia store that we now represent. We’re one of the largest partners for Kia in the U.S. When we think about that, we know we have to be excellent when it comes to customer satisfaction. We need to do some improvements on the facility.”