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Car dealers upbeat, but wary of Tesla's plans

BRISTOL — Area car dealers say they are bullish on new and used car sales in the first quarter of 2017. However, dealers the Press spoke with voiced concern about the repeated attempt of electric vehicle car manufacturer Tesla to open retail markets in the state.

Ken Crowley, president of the Crowley Auto Group, with seven locations in Bristol, Hartford and Plainville, is a leading Connecticut dealer of foreign and domestic manufacturers. Products include Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Jeep, Lincoln, Kia, Nissan, Ram trucks and Volkswagen; recreational vehicles including Winnebago, Roadtrek and Evergreen; and a full line of commercial trucks.

Crowley said Washington’s Birthday kicked off strong sales interest at his dealerships.

"A lot of car buyers seem to wait for then." Trucks and SUVs, he said, now account for 60 percent of sales at Crowley.

He credits stormy weather and the fact that the price of gas hasn’t risen in recent months for the interest in heavier vehicles.

"Then, too the way that trucks are finished off now they’re beautiful as any car," Crowley said. "They have a smooth ride, are comfortable and get great mileage. As for SUVs, people like the size and four-wheel drive and the fact that you can drive to Costco, lower the tailgate, load up the back and you’ve got plenty of room."

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