Thursday, November 27, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;29.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/bkn.png;2014-11-27 19:06:40
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nashua’s Tulley family sells VW franchise to AutoFair of Manchester

NASHUA – After acquiring the Volkswagen franchise from legendary city auto dealers the Tulley family, Manchester-based AutoFair Automotive Group is opening 2013 with its new VW dealership on Route 101A in south Merrimack.

Officials of both dealerships on Monday confirmed the agreement, which makes AutoFair the model’s third local franchisee in more than 50 years. The new store, which moved into a vacant portion of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle complex at 717 Route 101A, was expected to open Wednesday. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – After acquiring the Volkswagen franchise from legendary city auto dealers the Tulley family, Manchester-based AutoFair Automotive Group is opening 2013 with its new VW dealership on Route 101A in south Merrimack.

Officials of both dealerships on Monday confirmed the agreement, which makes AutoFair the model’s third local franchisee in more than 50 years. The new store, which moved into a vacant portion of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle complex at 717 Route 101A, was expected to open Wednesday.

Second-generation Tulley owner Jack Tulley said Monday that the family decided nearly a year ago to look for a buyer for its VW line.

“There are a lot of components to this,” he said, adding their chief motive was the dealership’s declining relationship with the VW manufacturer.

“As VW continues in its quest to be No. 1 in the nation, (automakers) have been placing unreasonable demands on dealers,” Tulley said. “So, over a period of time, we looked for a reputable dealer, like us, to take over the franchise. We wanted a dealer that would take good care of our employees,” he said of his company’s group of mechanics who specialize in Volkswagens.

Tulley will continue its other franchises, which include Buick, Mazda, BMW and GMC Truck.

He acquired VW in 1995 when longtime Gateway Volkswagen owner Guenter K. Mathoni decided to retire. “His daughter wasn’t interested in taking (Gateway) over, so he looked for a buyer, and we were it. He was a wonderful man to deal with,” Tulley said of Mathoni. Gateway stood at the corner of Amherst Street and Charron Avenue, where PEP Boys is today.

AutoFair’s new location, meanwhile, brings the dealership’s number of stores in New Hampshire to seven, said Andy Crews, its president and CEO. The debut comes on the heels of October’s grand opening of AutoFair Nissan in Stratham, adding to the group’s other five stores in Manchester and Plymouth, along with its Manchester Collision Center and a newer Nissan store in Tewksbury, Mass.

The two newest stores, Crews said, fulfill a major part of the growth plan for a dealership that considers itself a statewide operation.

“As we looked at where we wanted to see ourselves grow, we identified the Seacoast and Nashua areas,” he said. “We’re a statewide auto group, and we need to be on the Seacoast and in the Nashua area.”

As for Tulley’s Volkswagen mechanics, Tulley said most will move on to AutoFair. “We’ve got a good group of VW specific mechanics, they all got an opportunity to interview,” he said of AutoFair. “Quite a few of them will be their employees now. I’m pretty sure everyone landed on their feet.”

Autofair’s Crews praised the Tulley family’s stewardship of the Volkswagen name.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long period of time,” he said. “Jack is a great asset to the auto industry in the state. I would say that one of the things that attracted me to this transaction, not only is Volkswagen looking for a very strong growth market in the U.S., it’s the Tulley family, with its long history in Nashua, that has added extra value to the franchise.”

Tulley is marking its 56th year in Nashua in 2013. Its original franchise was Buick, when Lowell, Mass., salesman and executive Vincent Tulley Sr. opened Tulley Buick at 280 Main St. in 1957. Two years later, Tulley added Pontiac, followed by the subcompact import Opal.

As second-generation Tulleys began running the dealership, it aquired the BMW franchise in 1980, then added VW and Mazda, both of which came with the 1995 purchase of Gateway Volkswagen.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).