Test and Compare Pickups at Valenti's Annual Truck Battles
For close to three decades, the dealerships at Valenti Auto Mall in Mystic have held a friendly competition to see which automaker has made the most popular truck of the year. The annual Truck Battles event takes advantage of the fact that several major pickup manufacturers are represented on one site, making it easy for people to compare available models.
The event, which began in 1990, is designed to provide information on available models, let people test drive and compare different trucks, and take advantage of promotions on the purchase of a new pickup. Drivers can check out trucks from Chevrolet, Ford, and Ram at the Mystic location as well as Toyota at Valenti’s dealership in Westerly.
“We challenge everybody to test drive, test drive, test drive. All four brands,” said Brian Gates, marketing director at Valenti. “Pick out the one that best suits your needs, and then come experience our one-hour delivery policy.”
This policy ensures that drivers don’t have to wait long to start enjoying their new vehicle. Once they have chosen a truck, it can be ready to roll off the lot within an hour.
Gates says the healthy local economy has been providing plenty of work for contractors who build and renovate houses. These buyers often come in near the end of the year to take advantage of available tax credits; Valenti also adds about 300 to 400 new trucks in its inventory around this time.
The Valenti Auto Mall is unique in that buyers can compare trucks from three automakers on one site. This is particularly useful for contractors who don’t want to spend a lot of time going from dealership to dealership to compare models.
“They want to see the vehicle, they want to drive the vehicle, and they want to take delivery,” says Gates. “Seventy-five percent of the people buying trucks from us, it’s for their business.”
All sales professionals at Valenti are certified, and can answer any questions about a truck’s features. The service departments are open six days a week, allowing drivers who rely on a truck for their business to quickly get back on the road if any problem arises.
Trucks have also become more popular among homeowners who need to tow boats or trailers, traverse rough roads, or simply want a vehicle capable of carrying a lot of cargo. Improved engine designs have helped to improve fuel economy, with most pickups getting at least 18 to 20 miles to the gallon despite their large size.
The new trucks available this year include the 2018 update of Ford’s popular F-150 workhorse, which has become even more efficient due to an upgraded engine and lighter frame but still has a payload capacity of 3,270 pounds along with 13,200 pounds of towing capability. Chevrolet’s Silverado boasts a durable frame and multiple trim levels, and the automaker’s Colorado model is packed with advanced features.
Toyota has introduced the 2018 Tundra with an easily operable tailgate, a comprehensive safety package, and other features designed to make it a good fit for both “the work site and the weekend.” The new Ram 1500 notes how it is the only half-ton pickup with an available diesel engine, and that its 29 mpg highway rating gives it a range of up to 754 highway miles.
Gates says he has noticed certain common themes among buyers in each year’s Truck Battles. Ford tends to attract people involved in heavy construction, while smaller contractors favor Chevrolet. Sports loyalty also seems to play a part, with those favoring the New England teams going with Ford and New York fans gravitating towards Chevy.
Those in need of a truck for recreational purposes often choose a Ram. And Toyota tends to be most popular with women, but also with buyers who need to tow a horse trailer.
So which brand typically wins the Truck Battles with the most sales? The result tends to change each year, and each race is usually pretty tight.
“Someone always wins by two or three,” says Gates.
Truck Battles runs through the end of October. Buyers can get up to $11,000 in savings through rebates and discounts, and affordable leases under $200 a month are available for certain models.
For more information on Truck Battles, call 860-245-9957 for the Valenti Auto Mall or 401-322-7200 for Valenti Toyota. More information is also available at bobvalenti.com.