"No one in the whole world is driving a new car, including the president," stated Sam.
Local Dealers There To Help
Maximize Your Buying Dollar
By RICH TABER, Standard-Times staff writer
doesn't have to go to great lengths to locate someone selling used
cars. Dealers are showcasing their trade-in, neighborhood lots and
sprawling plazas on back roads and busy streets throughout the South
Coast. A quick look in the local phone book turns up over 100 dealers
under the "Automobile Dealers - Used Car" heading. By most accounts,
the volume of second-hand cars these dealers sell collectively will
more than double the volume of new cars being sold over the same period.
This might seem to be reason enough for someone to opt for
going into business selling used cars versus opening up a new car
franchise for a major automaker. But to hear several local dealers tell
their story, there's more of an explanation than that.
The lineup of late model cars at Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales in
New Bedford seems to shine no matter what the weather. For over for
forty years, Sam has built himself a solid reputation for offering only
the highest quality used cars (or pre-owned as they are more delicately
He is a medium sized business with no more thank 60 cars or so
split between two lots that straddle Purchase Street not far from
downtown New Bedford. Over the years, he's had his opportunities to run
with the bigger players and even opened a new car dealership, but for
him, selling new cars was a trip over to the dark side.
In the back of my mind, I thought the new car dealership
[Toyota Franchise] was going to be something," said Sam. "What I found
out was. . ."
At that point he reached into a filing cabinet and pulled out
a time-worn advertisement clipping to make his point. He noted how the
ad featured a new vehicle with an unbelievably low price. In the fine
print the ad stated that the model was available in the color of the
buyers choice. "This is one of the many insane tricks and chicanery,"
The advertisement wasn't intended to sell a car at that
price, according to Sam. It was meant to lure potential customers to
the dealership where they would be persuaded to buy something more
expensive that was immediately available rather then wait for shipment
of the advertised vehicle in the color of their choice.
For Sam, it was a question of integrity. He felt that with
selling new cars, he had to consistently battle to not deceive his
customers. He was a happier man selling used cars when he wasn't
beholding to the marketing plans of the manufacturer. "It became such a
high power and competitive industry - they just wanted the sale now -
they had to resort to deceptive advertising," he said. "It was a field
I wasn't used to. It wasn't me."
So Sam has built a career advocating the advantages of buying
good quality, late model, used cars. He'll tell you that one of the
best reasons to buy used is value. "If you buy a used car today for
$20,000, you could sell it tomorrow for 20,000," he said. "But a new
car depreciates immediately after the sale."
Consequently, as soon as a buyer drives that new car off the
lot, it is a used car from that point on. "No one in the whole world is
driving a new car, including the president," observed Sam.