Founded by President John Staluppi in the early 1970s and starting out with Honda motorcycles, Atlantic Auto Group has become one of the leading automotive dealership groups in the Northeast. The company has put together the right combination of staff, facilities, capacity and convenient locations, allowing Atlantic Auto Group to present itself as the best choice for its customers.
“We are most known for being the largest auto group in the Tri-State area,” Staluppi says.
Since founding the company, Staluppi has developed and executed an ongoing expansion plan. This has created the leading provider of vehicles on Long Island.
Staluppi has overseen the acquisition and disposition of a number of dealers and owned as many as 35 dealerships at one time. He remains responsible for setting the strategic direction of the company as well as overseeing strategic execution.
Atlantic Auto Group currently has 22 dealerships and represents 14 brands. Within its portfolio are five Hyundai, four Toyota/Scion, three Honda, two Nissan, two Lexus, two Audi, two Chevrolet, one Cadillac, one Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram and one Volkswagen dealerships.
Atlantic Auto has built its empire by understanding that its sales teams are critically important. Those teams will successfully get the customers in the fold by selling them their first Atlantic Auto car.
This approach has helped the company to build a stable of leading new car dealerships. It is also among the leaders in certified pre-owned car programs. Additionally, the company makes every effort to ensure that each and every one of the pre-owned vehicles in its inventory exceeds customer expectations.
However, it is the service experience the company provides that drives repeat business. The company knows that clients need more than a dealership to provide them with their new or used car, and it sees service and parts as the essential backbone of every one of its dealerships.
Atlantic Auto Group tries to build long-standing relationships with customers through the efforts of its service departments. Those departments feature state-of-the-art service centers that can offer the latest in diagnostic equipment and the largest staff of certified technicians and service bays available.
“Retention is everything in our business,” Staluppi says. “We win if the customer comes back.”
With more than 2,200 employees, Atlantic Auto Group is among the major employers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. As the company has grown, finding and keeping the best talent has been a critical part of its ability to exceed customer expectations.
One of the ways that Atlantic Auto Group goes about establishing itself as the go-to option for car-buying customers in its target markets is through an active online presence. The company has developed nyautogiant.com as its group website. When looking for a car on Long Island, Atlantic Auto expects to be in the top three searches for any customer.
“We are right there with cars.com and auto trader,” Staluppi says.
“Customers can search our entire new and used inventory for all 22 stores in one place,” he adds.
Atlantic Auto Group strives to utilize its online presence in order to better serve clients and customers wherever they are. Its Internet presence allows the company to offer shoppers a fair price and exclusive Internet specials as well as great service and the best automotive products available.
Between its extensive brick-and-mortar facilities and sizeable online presence, Atlantic Auto Group is able to put Staluppi’s philosophy for operating dealerships into practice. The company believes it must treat every customer – whether they visit at physical dealerships or online – as a member of the family. This is how the company believes it can provide unsurpassed experiences to its customers.
Atlantic Auto can also take advantage of its size when it comes to ensuring strong ties to the automotive manufacturers and other external partners. The company has excellent buying power, and it engages in a perpetual quoting process on all outside services so it does not get tied up in long-term contracts.
“We believe in good relationships,” Staluppi says. “But we always want to make sure that we are never over-spending,”
Atlantic Auto Group strives to stay involved in its communities. In 2015, it donated more than $100,000 to ROHHAD Fight Inc. Started by the family and friends of a Bayport girl with a rare obesity disorder, the nonprofit organization promotes awareness for - and funds research into - Rapid-onset Obesity with Hypothalamic Dysfunction, Hypoventilation and Autonomic Dysregulation.
Last year, New York Auto Giant - the operator of the Atlantic Auto Group - awarded Freeport High School graduate Jenell Muir a $10,000 scholarship. Muir earned the scholarship thanks to her work urging drivers not to text and drive in the 2014-15 New York Auto Giant iDrive No Texting and Driving awareness campaign.
Atlantic Auto Group also took part in supporting the 12th Long Island Fight for Charity (LIFFC). Among the members of Long Island’s business community that were scheduled to strap on boxing gloves to raise funds for Long Island charitable organizations is Omar Alvarez, who is a sales manager at Atlantic Auto Group. Proceeds are donated to the Long Island Community Chest, the East Meadow-based Genesis School and the National Foundation for Human Potential.
Additionally, last year saw the Make-A-Wish foundation honor company partner and owner Michael Brown for his philanthropic efforts. Brown, New York Auto Giant and Atlantic Auto Group have helped Make-A-Wish grant wishes to more than 100 kids.
Brown has been with the Atlantic Auto Group/New York Auto Giant family since joining in April 2007 as Vice President of Operations. Since that time, he has helped introduced a number of successful systems and processes to all aspects of Atlantic’s daily business.
Active in the community in a number of ways, Brown served on the Huntington Hospital Board of Trustees and its Audit and Compliance Committee for seven years. He has also been honored by organizations other than the Make-A-Wish foundation, including Big Brothers and Sisters and the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Telecare operation.
To ensure a prosperous future, Atlantic Auto Group has made a number of key investments into the company that it sees as essential to its strategic plans. For example, Atlantic Auto Group is constantly investing in its facilities. In fact, the company has spent more than $40 million in the last five years on improvements. Looking forward, Atlantic Auto Group plans to spend an additional $25 million over the course of the next three years for facility upgrades, as well as relocations.
“We have a philosophy of being in the right spot in the marketplace,” Staluppi says.
“Sometimes that means moving a dealership from one location to another,” he adds.
Atlantic Auto Group intends to place a lot of emphasis on considering its major challenges and priorities in the years ahead. In fact, the company plans to look for a number of opportunistic growth avenues inside Long Island and beyond.
Additionally, Atlantic Auto Group is keeping its eyes on external issues such as healthcare and payroll tax costs. These issues continue to play a major role in its expense structure because there have been drastic increases during the course of the last few years. The company would also like to find ways to acquire another platform in a different market when it finds the right opportunity.
Technology will also play a vital role in the company’s strategic direction. Atlantic Auto does business in an extremely competitive environment, and more and more people are searching the Internet for information when shopping for cars.
“It is not just about being easy to find anymore. It is about ease of use with our website, the quality of content and the ability to communicate that separates the average dealer from the elite.” Staluppi says.
“As we work to achieve our goals, human capital will be the key to success for us,” he continues. “Our general managers have very low turnover, and we pride ourselves on having the best people in the industry.”