Tuesday, 10 November 2020 21:19

Keep on Truckin’: Some CT Car Dealerships Expanding Despite Pandemic’s Economic Impact

Written by Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register
The entrance to the Collision Center at Richard Chevrolet in Cheshire on Oct. 27. The entrance to the Collision Center at Richard Chevrolet in Cheshire on Oct. 27. Arnold Gold/Hearst Connecticut Media


Some Connecticut car dealerships are forging ahead with expansion plans in the state, even as the coronavirus pandemic has suppressed sales.

About a half-dozen dealers of new cars around the state either are in the midst of expansions or recently completed such work. Reasons for the expansions vary, but dealers said the improvements were designed to improve the shopping experience for potential customers.


Jeff Aiosa, a member of the executive board of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association who represents Connecticut on the National Automotive Dealer Association Board, said new car sales in the state are off compared to this time last year. However, he said the sales decline “is not because of demand, but because of supply.”


“Manufacturers’ production schedules are behind schedule by between six to eight weeks because of an inability to get parts from vendors and suppliers,” said Aiosa, who also is president and owner of Mercedes-Benz of New London. “That has resulted in an inventory shortage.”


At Richard Chevrolet in Cheshire, sales of new cars “were dead” during March and April, said Jason Vianese, general manager of the dealership and one of its owners. But sales have improved steadily since then, Vianese said.


“We’re behind where we were last year, but not dramatically,” he said. “And last year was a good year. Sales are pretty good right now.”


What has benefited new car dealers during the pandemic, according to Vianese and Aiosa, is the public’s reluctance to make use of mass transportation.


“There has been a pivot to personal transportation,” Aiosa said. “Maybe before the pandemic, people were willing to get on a plane or a train...

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