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Dispatch Staff Photo by JOHN HAEGER
Elliot Calianese of Calianese Auto Sales poses at the dealership on Route 5 in Clinton on Monday.
CLINTON -– Needs often have to come before wants when it comes to buying a used car, according to Elliot Calianese, the owner of Calianese Auto Sales at 7567 Route 5 in Clinton.
“The best thing to do is to assess their needs versus their wants,” Calianese said. “What they want is typically not what they need. If they need a car that’s going to seat six people then they shouldn’t be looking at a two-door Honda Civic. Focus on your needs and let me help you find a car that best suits you.”
Calianese has been involved in car sales since the mid-1990s. He worked at Copper City Chrysler in Rome from May 1995 to May 1999 and NYE Toyota in Oneida from May 1999 to May 2010 where he held a managerial position.
He had been considering opening his own dealership for the past few years and took the opportunity when it presented itself after his departure from NYE Toyota in May.
He said he picked the location on Route 5 because he wanted to keep his business local.
The Rome native and current Oneida resident opened his dealership on Oct. 4. He said sales have been steady since the doors opened.
He typically stocks around 20 used cars at the lot which are hand-picked at auctions and purchased through new car dealership trade-ins. Most of the used cars are from Central and Eastern New York but some are from as far as Florida.
He said he tries to make the buying experience “hassle-free” for his customers.
“You come in, you find a car and test drive it,” he said. “If you like it then you buy it. If you don’t like it then you tell me what you don’t like about it and I will try to find a car that fits your needs a little better.”
He provides his customers with other services as well.
“We offer financing so we do all the running around for you as far as getting the loan goes,” he said. “Extended warranties are available. Cars with under 100,000 (miles) are warranted as per the New York State Used Car Lemon Law.”
Calianese said used car sales are finally on the upswing following a downturn in mid-2009 after the government trade-in program focused on swapping the used, less fuel-efficient vehicles for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
“After ‘Cash for Clunkers,’ used car sales were down quite a bit,” he said. “That was a deal from the government that only applied to new cars. What was happening at that point was that a lot of these cars that used car dealers would buy and sell normally were going to junkyards because they weren’t allowed to be resold if they came in as trades with the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ deal. So that took a lot of used cars off the market that nobody could buy. Sales are actually just starting to come back now.”
Calianese said he is looking forward to meeting new customers. He is also inviting customers he has helped in the past to ask him for car buying advice and help even if they are not looking to buy a used car.
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