A History of Looking at the Future of Automobiles
The Niello Company Started with One Man
The Niello Company started with a man in possession of exceptional talent. Louis Niello understood automobiles. He knew how they worked. And he knew how to fix them. The son of Italian immigrants resettling in San Francisco during the 1900s, Louis Niello displayed an unusually high mechanical aptitude at age 10. He loved cars and anything associated with cars. He raced motorcycles, worked as a chauffeur and eventually landed a job as a mechanic at a San Francisco Packard dealership.
Hard work earned him enough money to buy the dealership with a partner. It was 1921, America’s infinite passion for the automobile had entered a new phase. For an ever larger number of customers, no longer was it about buying a car to drive, but about buying a car to experience. The young Packard dealership on Ellis Avenue quickly added the famed luxury line of Pierce-Arrow. The move also foreshadowed what would become a Niello hallmark; not looking at what’s on the road, but what’s coming down the road.
Richard Niello Sr. Inherits the Family Business
Louis Niello’s son, Richard Niello Sr., inherited the family business after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Pierce-Arrow was out of production, and Packard’s days were numbered. Liquidating the dealership after his father’s death, Niello Sr. briefly worked for General Motors in San Francisco. There he met two other young salesmen, Wes Lasher and Elmer Hubacher. All three would become lifelong friends and go on to found automotive legacies in their new hometown of Sacramento.
With Hubacher eventually going into business on his own, Lasher and Niello Sr. partnered to form their own dealership and established in downtown Sacramento. In 1955, they started with a single make, a new German import poised to become an overnight success and legendary fixture on the American automotive landscape: Volkswagen.
From then on, anticipating the next, newest, hottest and most distinctive automobile, they characterized the Niello name. After Wes Lasher left to form his own dealership during the early 1960s, The Niello Company continued adding relatively unknown makes and models destined to become the next must-have automobiles.
As a successor to Lasher-Niello Volkswagen, The Niello Company established Niello Volkswagen-Porsche in 1963. To meet demands of the growing Sacramento market, in 1969 Niello Volkswagen moved to a new location on Arden Way and has been there ever since. The Niello Porsche franchise spun off and combined with Audi, forming Niello Porsche Audi. To date, Niello is the second oldest Audi dealership and the longest owned Porsche dealership in the country.
The Niello Company Continues To Grow
Since those beginnings, The Niello Company has expanded considerably. In 1973, Niello BMW was established on Fulton Avenue. At the time, the BMW product was seemingly unknown to the Sacramento market, but all of that would soon change.
In 1990, Acura was the next brand added to the lineup of fine automobile brands distinguishing The Niello Company. The Niello presence expanded in 1991 in Concord, acquiring an Infiniti franchise which has exclusively offered that brand ever since.
The Niello Company then opened two flagship dealerships in the Sacramento area with Land Rover Rocklin (2001) and Niello MINI (2002).
With three dealerships opening in June of 2007, The Niello Company continued its growth in the Sacramento area with Jaguar Sacramento, Land Rover Sacramento, and Maserati of Sacramento. These exceptional brands propelled The Niello Company into providing the most distinctive automobiles to its customers.
The Niello Company built a state-of-the-art facility in Elk Grove for its second Niello BMW dealership in January of 2008. At this same time Niello was the first dealer in the Sacramento area to offer the revolutionary smart car. In July 2013 Niello acquired a FIAT dealership and Niello FIAT was opened at 2030 Fulton Avenue.
The Tradition Continues
The tradition of sensing the next automobile sensation is carried on by Niello’s son, Richard Niello, Jr. To get a true feel for the business, Richard Niello, Jr. worked for a Volkswagen dealership in San Francisco before joining the family business in the mid 1970s.
Richard Niello, Jr. became president of The Niello Company in 1995. His brother, David Niello, is responsible for Niello Infiniti in Concord. A third brother, Roger Niello, was a member of the California State Assembly, representing the Fifth Assembly District, and is now serving as President of The Sacramento Metro Chamber.
A Local, Family Owned Business
Still family owned, The Niello Company is the region’s only privately held dealership group with a breadth of products that spans 11 brands: Acura, Audi, BMW, FIAT, Infiniti, Land Rover, Jaguar, Maserati, MINI, Porsche and Volkswagen. Its collision and repair departments service over 100,000 cars a year, and its employee team includes over 500 specialists, technicians and sales professionals.
The drive behind The Niello Company remains the same: to find automobiles fulfilling the buyer’s quest for distinction, innovation and adventure.
Today, The Niello Company continues to reflect the passion of founder Louis Niello for automobiles, and just as importantly, for the people who love automobiles.