The Berks-Mont News (

Partners in cars: The alternative to new car sales

By Gailynne M. Ferguson, For 21st Century Media

Thursday, July 25, 2013

No one will dispute the fact that new car prices have been steadily soaring and if you are like most people today, you really don’t want to go in debt for the next seven years for a vehicle that will depreciate nearly 11 percent the moment you drive it off the lot. Yes, that’s right, it depreciates immediately. And within five years of owning the newly purchased car, it will only be worth about 37 percent of what you originally paid for it at the dealership. But there is an alternative for car a buyer that is often overlooked: used car dealerships. Why?
Over the years, used car dealerships have received a bad reputation as not being honest with the customer or not standing behind their sales. Many sales people were pushy and try to get the best of the consumer. Even though the traditional used car salesman still lurks out there waiting to pounce on their next victim, many in the business now realize that they are in a position to truly succeed with our current economic times.
When car leases expired, these cars flooded the market. Many of the vehicles were taken to auction. Some new car dealerships started certifying that their used cars were thoroughly checked and that no problems existed. But for those cars that went to auction, they soon found new homes on used car lots. The smart used car dealer new that they could buy low mileage, clean, good running cars to put on their lots for resale at a reasonable price for the consumer.
Located in Gilbertsville is one used car agency that has excelled with their pre-owned and used car sales since 1988: Partners in Cars. Located at 1499 E. Philadelphia Avenue, the agency sits cattycorner from the Gilbertsville Post Office and across the street from the former Bermont Motors location. Owned by former Pennridge secondary science and math teacher Art Hand and his wife, Art’s love for the automobile goes back to age 15. It was a time when cars were made of steel, the engines blocks kept getting bigger, louder and faster… yet if a teenager took the time to learn the mechanics, he could keep his first car on the road by himself for a very long time and learn skills to last him a lifetime. Even after graduating from Millersville University in 1972, and entering the teaching profession, Art continued to cultivate his passion: cars!
“We opened in 1988. We love our location and the area.”
Hand realizes that much of his success is through word of mouth. He has sold over 5000 cars since 1988 in the price range of $3,000-$10,000 and many have been repeat buyers or referrals. Hand says he “prefers to sell the everyday car van, truck or sport utility vehicle” but if a customer has a vehicle to trade in that meets “his criteria for utility, reliability and he knows he can stand behind it” it will go on his lot. “It’s nice to buy from local people. I’ve sold Jaguars, Corvettes, Land Rovers, etc. but American models are much cheaper to maintain.”
With all of the used car lots in the area, Art was asked what makes Partners in Cars stand out from all of the rest.
“We’ve always posted prices on all of our cars. We talk straight and don’t exaggerate. Any of our customers would say we take good care of them. Most cars carry a free six month warranty with optional coverage up to three years. We have our banking license and have a close relationship with Fulton Bank and Tri-County Area Federal Credit Union. For those with less than perfect credit, Partners in Cars also uses Springleaf Financial (formerly American General). Notary, tags and title are all done in our office and all work is hand carried to PennDOT by a messenger.”
In addition to his financing options, Hand also maintains a company website,, where buyers can view inventory, details and pricing. If they still have a question, they can contact him on-line. With the use of additional on-line sites such as, and print advertising though Auto Exchange, Partners in Cars gets the word out that they are truly a competitor in the used car field.
“I love to come to work every day. Very few people can say that.”
But is Art still as compassionate about cars in his off time? Absolutely! As a member of the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgic Drag Racing Association (MANDRA ), Art can be seen competing with his 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint against other classic cars 1975 or older. “My daughter and I both own Fords which we drag race as a hobby.”
Having purchased both new and used vehicles for nearly 30 years, I can say that my experience with Partners in Cars was exceptional and warrants repeat business. I found Art to be honest, not pushy in the least and he was an absolute gentleman…traits not often seen in sales these days and as far as my purchase, I couldn’t be happier.