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Vision Automotive Group selling cars at St. Lawrence Centre

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MASSENA - Vision Automotive Group, a Rochester-based car dealership. has set up a used car lot in the parking lot at St. Lawrence Centre with between 100 and 120 cars available for sale over the next two weeks.

Sales Manager Jeff LaChance said bringing used cars on the road is something the company has been doing for the past three years.

“We’ve been doing this since 2010,” he said. “We offer big discounts and financing.”

Mr. LaChance said he would like to invite people to take a look at the cars, trucks, vans and SUVs they have in stock, but he also noted if there is a particular vehicle you are looking for they could find it and have it delivered with no additional shipping costs.

Local car dealerships though aren’t enthused by Vision’s visit, and Real “Frenchie” Coupal, owner of three dealerships in Massena, said he has spoken with town officials about enacting a law similar to one on the books in Watertown that prevents these types of businesses from coming for a couple of weeks and then leaving town. But until that law, which caps the length of time a temporary vendor can do business at 24 hours, is passed, Mr. Coupal said there is nothing anyone can do about it.

“They legally can do this until the town puts a law on the books to stop it,” he said, explaining that while the law wouldn’t technically stop out of area dealers from setting up shop in Massena they would be unlikely to transport 100 vehicles to the town to set up for a sale that’s only going to last 24 hours.

“It’s tough as it is out there, but this is going to make it even harder,” he said. “We are going to lose sales. If we lose four or five sales and our Ford dealership loses four or five sales and Frank (Blevins Seaway Motors General Manager Frank Lallier) loses four or five sales that adds up.”

Ultimately though in the end, Mr. Coupal and Mr. Lallier, both agreed it is going to be the customers who lose the most.

“I feel bad for those who are going to buy there,” Mr. Coupal said. “When the car breaks down, where are they going to get it fixed?”

Mr. Lallier agreed, “I think the dealers here take care of their customers, but there’s a sucker born every day,” he said. “You have to ask yourself if your car breaks down where can you go for service? You’re not going to go to Rochester.”

Mr. LaChance though, said that’s not something customers should be worried about.

“All of our vehicles are Car Fax certified,” he said, adding their business is also certified through the Attorney General’s office and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

“It’s quite a process to be a state-certified off-site dealer,” Mr. LaChance said, adding Billy Fuccillo, who owns and operates the Fuccillo Auto Mall in Adams, as well as several other dealerships across Northern and Central New York, is also now doing the same thing.

Sales at the mall will begin at 9 a.m. and continue through 7 p.m. today, with the same hours on Saturday, as well as Monday through Saturday next week. Sunday hours for both this upcoming and next Sunday will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mr. LaChance said Vision Automotive Group has 15 lenders available and can usually find financing options for people with bad credit or even no credit at all.

“We try to make it as easy as possible,” he said.

As for drawing the ire of local dealers, Mr. LaChance said that’s not something that they set out to do.

“We’ve been in Ogdensburg, Plattsburgh and all over New York state. We don’t want to disrespect the local dealers, so that’s why we don’t go to any one community on a regular basis,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for three years and we’ve never had problems with anybody.”

Mr. LaChance said the sale will feature a wide variety of late-modled use vehicles, with a few older used vehicles, as well. He also said the group does accept trade-ins and loan payoffs.

St. Lawrence Centre Marketing Manager Ronald J. Patnode said the mall was approached about hosting a sale and since they had the available space they decided to do so.

“They wanted to know it we have parking lot space available to conduct a 10-day auto sale and we said sure,” Mr. Patnode said. “It was perfect for what they were looking for. I think this is a good setting to display and sell cars.”

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