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Published: Thursday, 9/13/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Taylor auto group adds 2 dealerships to family

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Stephen Taylor II Stephen Taylor II
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The Taylor Automotive Family has added two dealerships to its ranks in the last six weeks, including the first Kia franchise in Lima.

The dealership group, which had Kia stores in Toledo and Findlay, purchased what had been part of the Lima Auto Mall earlier this year. The renovated dealership began selling Kias on Aug. 3.

“It just worked out to be a good thing,” said Steve Taylor II, who runs the family's Kia and Hyundai dealerships. “We needed a facility and [Lima Auto Mall] had the additional space. It worked out really well. We’ve done a little bit of remodeling, and last month, in our first month in there, we sold over 100 units.”

Kia Motors America has enjoyed a strong showing this year, with U.S. sales up 16 percent on the year through August. The Korean car firm has posted monthly sales records in 24 consecutive months.

Taylor Automotive opened its first Kia dealership in Toledo in 1998.

“The quality has just come so far since 1998,” Mr. Taylor said. “These cars, it’s not even the same kind of car we saw back then in the late ’90s early 2000s.”

Kia ranked 19th out of 34 brands in the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, placing ahead of nameplates including Volvo, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford, and Dodge. Ten years ago, Kia was last in the annual survey.

Mr. Taylor said the brand has done particularly well in Findlay, with Kia accounting for one in five new cars sold there. He said they’ve noticed a good number of customers driving up from the Lima area to purchase new cars. Kia was also interested in opening a dealership Lima.

“It’s been a great fit and we’re real excited about it,” Mr. Taylor said.

Saturday, Taylor Automotive is hosting what it’s calling “Kia Fest” at the Lima dealership. The all-day event has local bands, giveaways, and games, and culminates with a free concert by country artist Travis Tritt.

Taylor Automotive recently added its second Hyundai franchise by purchasing the Findlay dealership of Tom Ahl. That dealership reopened under the Taylor name last week.

“We’d been talking with Tom Ahl for a little bit,” Mr. Taylor said. “We’ve had the Hyundai franchise up in Perrysburg since 2008 and we just know the brand. It’s a fantastic franchise. They’ve grown leaps and bounds over the last few years.”

Hyundai’s U.S. sales are were up about 9 percent on the year through August, and the automaker has struggled somewhat to keep up with consumer demands of for its most popular models. The Automotive News reported Hyundai had a 29-day supply of vehicles on Sept. 1. Kia had a 32-day supply. A 60-day supply is generally considered the industry standard.

Mr. Taylor said that while dealers may have some challenges keeping their lots as full as they’d like, the automakers have been good about keeping inventory coming in.

Mr. Taylor said the auto group is working with Hyundai to bring a franchise to its lot on Central Avenue in Sylvania Township next year. They are also in discussions with Volkswagen to bring that brand to Findlay, which does not have a Volkswagen dealership.

In addition to the Kia and Hyundai dealerships, the family runs Taylor Cadillac, which is also on Central Avenue. Taylor Automotive began in 1979, when Stephen D. Taylor bought a Buick dealership in downtown Toledo. He added the Cadillac dealership nine years later.



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