The United Nations Comes to East Greenwich
September 22, By: Richard Austin
had no idea East Greenwich had a United Nations until I visited
International Motors Group and spoke to Tony Pertrone, Jr. and his
brother Lenny. Granted, they may not represent 193 countries like
the UN, but there is an impressive list. I arrived a few minutes
early for my appointment so I took a little look around.
Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Lexus, BMW,
Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Ford, Dodge, Pontiac, Nissan, Mitsubishi,
Infiniti, Jaguar, Mini, Aura, … well, you get the picture. Very
impressive; but wait a minute, what was that over there? A 2013
asked Tony and Lenny about the Hyundai. The explanation was simple.
It was a great car at a good price. Now, that’s not the company
motto, but it is how they do business. Tony does most of the
“shopping”. In fact, I asked him about his great tan, thinking he
would tell me about his golf game, but I found out that most of the
car auctions and other events he attends are held out-doors. (Who
knew?) However, unlike typical automobile dealerships, who may
purchase a gaggle of cars (what do you call a group of cars?), Tony
is very picky. Not too many cars make their way to their business in
East Greenwich; and yes, they are partial to foreign cars (more
about this coming up), but, if it’s a great car, it could very well
make the final cut. Auctions are not the only source for their
inventory. Estate sales, private owners, and even other dealers who
may sell Fords and don’t really know what to do with a BWM they take
in as trade.
So, why foreign cars? Well, that’s an interesting story. Tony
Petrone Sr. was born and raised in Italy, and came to the U.S. in
1959. At the time, he was already a Master Technician (automotive
mechanic) in Italy, so he quickly found work at a fledging foreign
car dealership in Rhode Island. In 1981, Tony Sr., as with many
ambitious new-comers, decided to open his own foreign car repair and
maintenance business and chose Main Street in East Greenwich to set
up shop. In fact, his original is right across the street from the
current showroom, and is now the maintenance facility. It wasn’t
long that, as the business grew, it was only natural to start
selling cars as well as repairing them.
Tony Jr. and Lenny grew up around cars – specifically, foreign cars.
Tony Jr.’s first car was a BMW (but don’t be too impressed, as Tony
tells it, the car was pretty old). Lenny’s first car was a Fiat, but
that’s a story for another day.
Thirty-three years later, the Petrone family is still at it. As
Lenny told me, their reputation is their most important asset. In
fact, around 80% of their business is from referrals and repeat
customers. I don’t know of any dealership that can boast of that
kind of loyalty.
Of course, loyalty is earned. Great cars at a fair price is just the
beginning. International Motor Group will also finance your
purchase. They have relationships with 15 finance companies. They
also provide second-to-none service with ASE certified mechanics.
Lenny heads the service team as a lead ASE Master Technician with
over 35 years of experience. Tony and Lenny are the owners, and
they’re always available (unless Tony is out shopping for cars).
With their hands-on leadership and experienced sales team (one
salesman has been with them 14 years, the other 5), you can be sure
that when you come back for yet another car, you’ll be talking to
the same folks you made that great deal with the first time.
I was wondering about what sort of warranty they offered. Well, not
only are all their cars put through a rigorous inspection and
reconditioning process, they also offer extended warranties. In
fact, in August, they were giving away a five-year warranty with
every car (if I had only known!). Not only that, but free state
inspections for the life of your car!
Long story short, if you’re looking for a great car at a fair price
from a local business (who will be there in the future),
International Motor Group is really the only choice.
I checked on their website’s inventory page – they have a sweet 1985
Alfa Romeo Spyder Graduate 2-door convertible (in red) that I’ve got
my eye on. “Hey honey – look what I bought!”