Need a vehicle? Here are some tips to help out

Buying a vehicle is not simple. Customers have to make endless decisions — new or used; lease or buy; what size, make, model and color; how many miles; what year; and how much can you pay … The list goes on, and it’s intimidating.
To all of these questions swirling around in your head add the stereotypical wheelin’-and-dealin’ car salesperson who weasels you out of a good car and into a bad deal. It’s enough to make anyone avoid the car dealership.
But don’t despair. Here in Addison County we have several local — and trusted — car dealerships that are happy to answer all of your questions, educate you on all of your options and help you find the perfect vehicle. And although they might be smooth-talkin’ salespeople, they’re also your neighbors and friends, and really do want to take care of you.
Still, it always pays to prepare yourself before you go car shopping — no one knows more about what you want to buy than you yourself do.
If you’re in the market for a vehicle, but are feeling a little overwhelmed, consider these tips from three Addison County car dealerships.
Mike Capra
Deneker Chevrolet, Middlebury
The Vermont Truck Center, Vergennes
Mike Capra has been working with Tom Deneker for eight (maybe nine) years, but he got his start way back in 1980 at Miller Chevrolet in Vergennes. Capra estimates there are about 275 vehicles available between the Middlebury and Vergennes dealerships right now, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for they do special searches and orders for customers. In a year, Deneker sells about 500 new and 600 pre-owned vehicles; Vermont Truck Center sells about 300 pre-owned.
Their most popular vehicle is the Chevy Silverado pick up truck. Why? “Because they’re great trucks,” said Capra. “They have a great combination of ride, handling, ability and dependability, plus a great reputation.”
What should customers consider when purchasing a new vehicle?
Make sure you have the ability to get quality service after the sale. You buy the car once but have to service it for the life of the vehicle. And work with a dealer that knows the product, and makes you feel more at ease and educated.
What are the pros and cons of buying a new vs. a used vehicle?
New cars are under warranty, so you have a fixed cost. You know what to expect and don’t get surprised by a big bill. Leasing a new vehicle is a great way to get in a new car more affordably.
If you’re buying a used vehicle, make sure it’s one that’s certified by the manufacturer (that gives you a warranty and maybe some other benefits like towing, roadside assistance, maintenance for the first 10,000 or 15,000 miles). Vehicles these days have so much content — it complicates the vehicles — so they are not easy to fix anymore.
Why buy from a local dealer?
Relationships. When you buy local, you’re not only supporting local business, but also all the employees and their families. All we want to do is get the customer a reasonable price and a margin that works for us; everybody should get a good deal. It’s small town USA. I grew up here, I live here … We’re looking to give customers a good deal. Give local a chance; we’ll take care of you.
Travis Romano
G. Stone Motors, Middlebury
Travis Romano got his start working at G. Stone Motors right out of high school in 2002. Now the general manager counts 15 years at the dealership. Romano estimates there are about 300 vehicles available at the Middlebury dealership right now, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for they also do special searches and orders for customers. In a year, G. Stone Motors sells about 1,100 vehicles. 
Their most popular vehicle is the Ford F-series truck. Why? “It has a great track history of safety, quality, value and appeals to so many different consumers.” No wonder it’s been America’s number-one selling truck for over 40 consecutive years.
What should customers consider when purchasing a new vehicle?
Find the right vehicle that fits your needs, not what’s on sale or what the salesman thinks you need, but what YOU need/want. Buying a vehicle is a huge investment and it’s very important that the vehicle is going to do what you expect.
Do business with a dealer you trust, not only during the sale but also service after the sale. Having a local dealer that you can rely on for good service, advice, and assistance throughout your ownership of a vehicle is invaluable.
Make sure the deal fits your budget, there are so many options when it comes to purchasing or leasing a new vehicle.
What are the pros and cons of buying a new vs. a used vehicle?
For a lot of people a new vehicle makes the most sense, some of the pros to a new vehicle are full warranty and latest technology. However, new vehicles also have cons that consumers should be aware of such as initial depreciation factors and greater upfront costs. Used vehicles can offer a great value to many people with a much slower rate of depreciation and generally lower upfront costs. But, buyers should also consider the cons such as the history of a used vehicle, warranty and unexpected repairs.
Why buy from a local dealer?
You get local service from professionals that you can trust.
Community support. This goes both ways, buying from a local dealer supports a local business in your community but that dealer also supports the community in return.
Convenience, having a local dealer you can trust and rely on for service after the sale is key. You should be excited about getting a shiny new vehicle weather it’s brand new or just new to you. If everything was done properly you haven’t just bought a new vehicle, you’ve become a part of the family, and have a new friend in the business.
Dave Wimett
Wimett Trading Company, Leicester
Dave Wimett has been selling cars since 1985. First at Shea Motors in Middlebury, then for Foster Motors. In 2010, he decided to open his own used car business.  Wimett keeps between 20 and 25 pre-owned cars and trucks on the lot at Wimett Trading Company. He does most of his business through custom searches and orders. “That’s what we’re known for,” Wimett said. “We specialize in locator services. I interview customers, evaluate their trade-in, talk about their budget and go to auction and find what they’re looking for. Over the years, I’ve done this hundreds of times and 99 percent of the time it works out great.” In a year, Wimett sells about 200 vehicles; he said that each make has its own model that sells well.
What should customers consider when purchasing a new or used vehicle?
I don’t discourage customers from buying new cars. It just depends on their needs. Leasing options can make new cars more affordable, but you do have to be conscious of your mileage. When buying used cars it’s very important to buy from someone who has a reputation for taking care of the customer. If there’s a problem we fix it. I have several different local garages that do service for us.
What are the pros and cons of buying a new vs. a used vehicle?
It depends on the individual and their needs. Some people are thrilled to buy and own a car for 10 years and others like the newest and greatest new trends every three years.
Budget is also a large factor. I carry cars in the $5,000-$20,000 range. Once you get above that you tend to be a new car buyer.
One thing to look for is rust. It’s a key issue in Vermont. It’s not mileage or the year that will condemn a car at inspection, it’s rust. You can use a preventative to help keep rust off your car, like I have an oil undercoating on my car and my wife has fluid film (a wax-based lanolin that’s more environmentally friendly). It needs to be reapplied every year.
Why buy from a local dealer?
You’ll get service before and after the sale. If someone has an issue, I have a reputation that I care about — my integrity is worth more than money — so I’ll make sure we fix your car. I’ve been in the area so long, that I’m now selling cars to the third generation of my customers. Trust is important here in Vermont.

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