The Block Island Times
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Trips Abroad: Valenti Subaru-Toyota

By Bob Stiepock | Feb 26, 2014

They’re baaaaaack!! Toyota automobile sales increased by 12 percent and Subaru sales by 30 percent between 2012 and 2013. And they’re expecting similar increases by the end of 2014.

Bruce Morrow, general manager of the Subaru side of the Valenti Subaru Toyota dealership at Dunn’s Corners in Westerly, said in a welcome complaint that “my biggest challenge these days is getting new cars. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a big bump in the popularity of Subaru models. We’ve doubled our sales from 2008.”

In the Toyota building just next door, General Manager Bill Goodwin is also responding to a surge in sales. “We’ve experienced a remarkably quick turn-around following the unintended acceleration recalls,” he said. “In addition to the recalls and the tsunami, there was simply a slowdown in demand during the recession. It’s an example of an issue we face all the time: trying to remain consistent in a business that can be inconsistent. Right now, though, things are definitely looking up.”

With some degree of consistency returning to the economy with more credit available, people are beginning to consider major investments, and both Toyota and Subaru have made changes that are attracting buyers. Toyota has maintained its reputation for fuel economy while adding new, appealing models. Subaru’s all-wheel-drive has always appealed to customers, especially in New England, but Subaru has coupled that feature with improved gas mileage and has added a hybrid, the XV Crosstrek.

A feature that’s common to both Subaru and Toyota at this Valenti dealership is top-flight service. “I suppose you’d expect me to say this,” said Harvey Stoute, service manager at Toyota, “but we really believe in this car and I’ve got five master technicians who take pride in keeping up with the technology. You’re only as good as the people working for you, and I’m glad to say these folks are the best.”

Subaru’s service manager, Craig Miller, has 20 years of experience at Subaru. “Over the years,” he said, “we’ve kept one goal at the top of our priorities: Get it right the first time. And while our team is getting it right, our customers know we have seven service loaners on deck at all times.”

Both sides of the Valenti Subaru Toyota dealership offer free lube, oil (including synthetic) and filters for the life of the car. “We figure that’s a saving of $840 on average,” Morrow said.

The Westerly Subaru Toyota location at Dunn’s Corners is one of seven Valenti dealerships in Connecticut and Rhode Island, a quintessential family business. Rob Valenti and his three sisters – Jean, Cheryl and Beth – are the hub of the operation. At the Dunn’s Corners location, Bill Goodwin is married to Jean and Bruce Morrow is married to Beth. But the family aspect of this automobile dealership goes beyond siblings and marriage. The company’s meeter, greeter and receptionist, Karen Cardone, said, “It’s very friendly, very comfortable around here. It’s like a family. Well, a very nice family anyway.”

Valenti Subaru Toyota is located at 4 Langworthy Road in Dunn’s Corners at the intersection of Route 1 and Langworthy Road just behind the Mobil service station. For all connections, telephone (401) 322-7200.

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