SCHENECTADY — Leave it to Billy Fuccillo to compare Schenectady to a car brand.
Fuccillo, the ubiquitous owner of Fuccillo Auto Group and star of TV commercials, was at the Rivers Casino & Resort to film new spots — and receive the key to the city from Mayor Gary McCarthy.
In accepting the honor, Fuccillo compared Schenectady's progress in recent years with the progress of the car brand Kia.
He recalled Kia franchises going from "really bad" 20 years ago to now "No. 1 in initial quality over all franchises" over the last two years.
"It reminded me a lot of Schenectady when I came through Schenectady today," Fuccillo said, adding his trademark phrase. "You're making a HUGE comeback."
McCarthy handed Fuccillo the key to the city in a brief ceremony, citing Fuccillo's employment and charity work. (The plaque included a large, ceremonial key, not, say, a smaller or equal-in-size car key or fob.)
Speaking to reporters afterward, he also spoke of building work expected in the coming three years at his three Schenectady-area dealerships down Route 5 — Kia, Hyundai and Volkswagen.
He said he intends to invest likely in excess of $20 million over in that time to rebuild and expand the dealerships, increasing his workforce at the three from about 200 to close to 300.
"I really appreciate this award and I'm really proud of the people that have not only come into my dealerships and purchased cars, but I'm really proud of the way the community here is coming back," Fuccillo said. "It's just unbelievable."
He then made sure to get in one more reference to his very large trademark phrase, saying if he was to phrase it in one word, it would be that.