Jill Merriam Key Hyundai Blog

Hyundai Celebrates 25 Years in USA

The New York Times did a great automotive slide show about the evolution of Hyundai, which took me back. With Hyundai celebrating 25 years in the US, I asked my dad, the original owner of Key Hyundai, about those early days.

“I got my franchise in the second wave of appointments in 1987. Only Key remains, so I’m proud to say we are the longest established Hyundai dealership in Connecticut,” said Larry Merriam, the original owner/operator of Key Hyundai and, more importantly, my Dad.

Remember When?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvJ3vZ1Hd-w&w=425&h=349]

“During the 90s recession, automotive was hit hard. Not unlike today, but Hyundai learned from the 90s and it shows. Back then, corporate called in 15 or so major dealers, including me, plus management and the marketing firm, and we completely discussed the situation. Hyundai really listened to what we dealers were hearing on the salesroom floor,” said Larry Merriam, “then did something about it.”

Quality was – and remains – imperative to the American consumer, and Hyundai listened to my dad and the other dealers and proceeded to fix their cars, and revamp their image.

America’s Best Warranty: born in a recession, successful today

They set up the first 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty, deemed “America’s Best Warranty.” No one can afford such claims if vehicles are going to actually need it, so Hyundai put its money where its mouth was: its automobiles. Consumers caught on, and the quality issue was nullified.

Quality, value and lookin' good!

Once considered a cheap knock-off, and lets face it, cheap was its key attribute back in the day.

Then, Hyundai was far from the sleek, chic vehicle it is today – an automotive staple in the American car market for consumers demanding quality, safety, and value. And, dare I say, sex appeal.

Americans like their cars driving fine and looking fine.

Hyundai. Sexy. Who would have thought that 25 years ago?

25 Years Later, Another Recession, A Different Story

Hyundai has a completely different image today, and I like their ambitious plans for the future.

My dad worked hard to get Hyundai to listen back then, and today Key Hyundai is reaping the benefits with well made cars that people can afford and want to drive.

I am so looking forward to the next 25 years, because the future looks plenty bright indeed.

American Idol Transformer Dude

I'm a fan. There, I said it.

My guilty pleasure is American Idol – there, I said it.

Yes, even with Simon gone.

Even with Steven Tyler’s somewhat uncomfortable ogling of girls young enough to be his daughter.

I put my kids to bed and often watch it while going through my emails. My husband makes fun of me. That’s okay!

Steven Tyler, Randy, and Jennifer are getting the job done, and Simon…Simon Who? isn’t but an after thought. And with all the musical talent this year, one guy stands out in my mind and I can’t shake him. Or it.

Call it a casualty of the industry in which I work.

But did you see him?

That transformer dude during first round of auditions?

I tivo-ed the audition to show my kids, because even if he couldn’t sing, the car was crazy cool and I knew Carly and Brady would love it.


This, people, is a cash cow and – Hyundai? You can thank me later.

Flash forward a couple weeks to the unveiling of the new Hyundai Veloster Rally Car at Chicago’s Auto Show.

It already looks like a movie star. Like Herbie the Love Bug on steroids.

If Herbie were a Hyundai. On 'roids.

The New York Times wrote about it, explaining the modified Veloster Coupe was produced for competition only, specifically for the Hyundai team to compete in the 2011 United States Rallycross Championship, the Summer X Games and other performances.

The Veloster Rally Car ups the cool factor a little bit for Hyundai, and a whole lotta bit for kids. Particularly those living in my home.

Fun. Sporty. Tough.

And from afar, I’m wondering if I can modify it yet again into a Halloween costume for my kids? I really think it would work.

Then have my kid zoom around the dealership, zipping in and out of the showroom! Without singing of course. We wouldn’t want him judged.

Fasten Your Seatbelts

Snowpocalpyse 2011 in Connecticut

This blog has been lacking as of late, because business and family and, well, life has been busy underneath all this New England snow! But fasten your seat belts car lovers, family jugglers, working parents, and Connecticut readers looking for an authentic voice in the world of auto dealers.

Here I am.

You hear me on the radio, see me on TV, perhaps a glimpse on YouTube, and hopefully in the showroom every so often. Selling cars. Buying trade-ins. Getting hard-working people into the cars they deserve, but couldn’t dream they could afford, let alone own.

And I’m a cheerleader for Hyundai. Because they’re that good. And if you’re rolling your eyes, you haven’t driven one and don’t know what you’re missing. Hyundai is a product I can believe in so wholeheartedly, I put my name on it…over and over and over again.

But this blog will be a window into my world: the world of Hyundai and why I honestly believe this is the car to own. A window into our dealership, Key Cars, and what you can expect from everyone who works here. An insider’s view into financing: how we can make it work for you.

Why respect must rule every negotiation, must dictate our every move. Because one side effect of this awful recession? Credit issues have left no one unscathed. And only the real estate market knows that better than the auto market.

Me & Rob: keeping it real.

Perhaps the most vulnerable and interesting aspect of this blog, at least to me and perhaps to you, is a glimpse inside my whole world – all of it. How my job effects my family, and how my family effects my job. Because both are intricately linked.

This is me: Jill Merriam. And I’m the car dealer for the people, mom to Brady and Carly, wife to best friend Rob Dulinsky, sister to partner Jeff. I’m a friend, mentor, community activist, daughter, female business owner, Connecticut native, and oh yeah, I sell cars.

All these parts make up Jill Merriam. What makes up you?