Holiday Gifts for Car Lovers

cell phone mount

The iOttie phone mount,

If you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for the car enthusiast on your list, here are some great ones!

This cell phone dashboard mount from iOttie is a winner with reviewers. Sticks to your dashboard or windshield, with a big, strong suction cup. They say it can be removed or mounted with just one touch – pretty simple.

Since Connecticut is a hands-free cellphone state, you must make sure you have the right device for your device! This is a great gift for your CT driver, one they’ll appreciate long after the busy holiday season is over. See details here.

CT drivers

see for this great decal

If your driver loves our great state of Connecticut, you can cruise over to Etsy and pick up one of these fun car decals. Help them declare their love of CT, wherever they go.

Decals like this make a great stocking stuffer, especially for a young driver going off to college. There are lots of cute styles on Etsy to choose from, too.


Or, if you have a brand new driver, give them a personalized CT license plate necklace to mark their accomplishment this year.

CT license plate giftCT custom license plate cufflinksGot a guy on your list with a great CT license plate he’s super proud of? The same artist does custom cuff links!


CT car gift gear clock

Gear clock from

Perfect for the man cave or the office, for any car lover: this gear clock from is a gift we just love. The parts are re-purposed from an engine timing gear and chains. A car lover’s perfect gift.

Enjoy your holiday shopping, and drive safely along the way!

How to Decide: Buying a New Car, or Leasing?

A while back, DrivenCT posted information on whether to buy or lease a new car. Since it’s the year end, we thought it would be a good time to reiterate some of the information from that post.

If you’re in the market for a new car, you’ll quickly notice how much lower monthly lease payments are compared to getting financing for a new vehicle purchase. What makes leasing so much less money each month? Leases are financing a much shorter timeframe: just how much you’re going to use the car during the period of the lease. With a new car purchase, you’re financing the cost of the car over a longer time period.

financing a new car Fran Marinaro

Fran Marinaro

Should you lease, or is buying the car a better decision for you? First ask yourself this: do you have a down payment available, or would you rather not have to save for a down payment? How long will you keep the car, and how far do you drive each year? These are some of the questions you have to ask yourself when deciding whether you should buy a new car, or lease it.

We caught up with Fran Marinaro, Business Manager at Hoffman Ford, Hoffman Lincoln, and the Hoffman Used Car Superstore. He’s an expert in vehicle purchase decisions. Fran says, “Roughly 20% of buyers opt for a lease, but many are just used to purchasing their car. They sometimes don’t realize the dynamics of a lease are pretty much the same as financing for a purchase. But a lot of people just like to see their name on the title.”

Fran makes an excellent point on the down payment issue as well. He tells us, ” I was recently able to save a Lincoln customer over $140/month with a leasing option over a financing payment, which would amount to about $7,200 over three years. They could put that money aside and use it as a down payment to purchase the car at the end of the lease if they wanted. It can turn into a really smart used vehicle purchasing decision. It’s all what you’re comfortable with, whether you are open to the idea of leasing.”

When to Get a New Car Loan

new car financing auto loan CT Hoffman Auto When you finance your new car purchase, your lender holds the car’s title until the loan is paid off. After that time, the car is yours to keep, sell, or trade in towards another vehicle purchase.

If you’re going to keep your car for more than 5 years, if you drive a lot of miles or it’s unpredictable how many you drive each year, you should choose buying the vehicle.

When to Consider a New Car Lease

new car lease CT Hoffman Auto financing

People like that with leasing there is no down payment. Leasing is a good option if you like to always drive the newest model vehicles and you’re certain of how many miles you’ll drive each year.

At the end of the vehicle lease, you can choose between returning the car to the dealership or buying the vehicle at its resale (“residual”) value. (And you can follow Fran’s advice about saving up the difference in the financing payment versus the leasing payment over the course of the lease, and then applying it to your purchase….).

The question you have to ask yourself is really whether you want to invest in a vehicle you’ll have for a long time and, eventually, have no car payment when it’s paid off. If you’re okay with having a car payment each month, don’t put tons of miles on your car, and like driving the latest new car models, choosing to lease the vehicle probably makes the most sense.

CT International Auto Show comes to Hartford

CT international auto show


The Connecticut International Auto Show rolls into Hartford’s Convention Center on November 21, 2014. Running Friday through Sunday, it’s a great destination for “gear heads” of course, but also for families looking for some car-related fun.

There will be NASCAR simulators as well as a remote control race track for the kids – and any adults who want to muscle their way in?

The auto show will also feature a classic car showcase, sponsored by Klingberg Family Centers. There will be some antique cars at the show of course, too. A 1902 Ford Model A, Ford’s first production car, will be there along with a 1906 Reo Model B Roadster, with a folding rear seats.

For those who have a need for speed and motors that make a statement, there will be a Muscle Madness Showcase.

Make sure you visit the Fan Zone, and get yourself registered for the gas for life contest!

New Car Models on Display

new FordFord

2015 Ford Edge, 2015 Ford Focus and 2015 Ford F-150


2015 Honda Fit, 2015 Honda CRV2015 Honda Civic2015 Honda Accord Sedan2015 Honda Accord Coupe


2015 Scion X8, 2015 Scion XD, 2015 Scion TC, 2015 Scion IQ, and 2015 Scion FRS

2015 Nissan Leaf S

2015 Nissan Leaf S


2015 Nissan Altima, 2015 Nissan Leaf S, 2015 Nissan NV2500, 2015 Nissan Sentra2015 Nissan Versa Note2015 Nissan Versa Sedan, 2015 Nissan Maxima

Auto Show Hours:

Friday, November 21: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday, November 22: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday, November 23: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Tickets are $10  for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-12.

Buy Auto Show Tickets Here

Hoffman Auto Group joins the fun at Fidelco’s Comedy Night in Hartford

Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation hosted it’s first annual Comedy Night on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at the Society Room in Hartford. The evening was a fantastic success with over 115 attendees who enjoyed connecting with representatives from Fidelco as well as several guide dogs and an adorable puppy in training. Attendees bid on silent auction items including everything from kayaks to jewelry and gift certificates to tequila. Hoffman Auto Group provided a vehicle for the weekend certificate in the auction. The Fidelco team was pleased to report that all auction items were successfully sold – this is a tremendous support for Fidelco!

The highlight of the evening, if seeing the friendly and loyal guide dogs isn’t enough, was the laughter resulting from the comedy provided by Alex Reymundo. Alex brought his 20 years of comedic talent and charm to the stage, poking fun at his own life experiences and family matters while also directing a few jabs into the audience to keep everyone on their toes.


Alex Reymundo – Photo courtesy of Fidelco.

Hoffman Auto Group is proud to continue supporting the mission of Fidelco of providing highly trained guide dogs to blind clients, enabling them to live independent and successful lives. Eliot Russman, Fidelco’s CEO, shares “We hear from our clients that, living in a world that presumes the ability of everyone to see, advancing confidently as a blind person can be more of a chore than challenge. They tell us about the many dangerous obstacles they encounter more often than their confident successes.” He continues, “That is, until they pick up their first guide dog’s harness. Then confidence is matched with direction and dreams become achievable endeavors. The all-too-common limitations and barriers to a life fulfilled simply fade away.”


Eliot Russman, CEO of Fidelco; Susan Lane, Reputation Management & Social Media Specialist, Hoffman Auto Group; and, Christan Miller, Director of Marketing & Communications, Hoffman Auto Group


Doug Nelson, VP & Director of Development, Fidelco; Susan Greer, Associate Director of Development, Fidelco; and, Fidelco client, Dave Beaupre with his guide dog, “Grissom”


We encourage you to visit to learn more about the fantastic mission and success of the organization. See how you can get involved and enrich the lives of so many people who benefit from the partnership of a guide dog.


Susan Lane, Hoffman Auto Group; Doug Nelson, Fidelco; and, Christan Miller, Hoffman Auto Group

There is an upcoming opportunity to learn more and show your support on Friday, November 14. The Hartford Metro Alliance is hosting “The Heart of Leadership” at the Hartford Hilton. Attendees will have a heartwarming and informative opportunity to hear from well-respected US Veteran, Lt. Brad Snyder who is also a Fidelco client, partnered with his loyal guide dog, “Gizzy.” Enjoy the conversation he will have with CEO of Aetna, Mark Bertolini about how their lives were impacted due to tragic accidents and their resulting commitment to reaching others with their stories and successful partnership with Fidelco. This is an event you will not want to miss this! RSVP here by Tuesday, November 11, 2014.



Keep Teen Drivers SAFE

Teen driver safety CTThis week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and we hope you’ll take some time with your teen before the weekend is out to talk to any young drivers (or drivers-to-be) about how to stay safe on our Connecticut roads.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in the U.S. In fact, almost half of the teen drivers involved in a crash die. Yet, a recent survey show that only 25% of parents have had a serious talk with their kids about the key components of driving. Please, Talk to Your Teen About the “5 to Drive” from 

The 5 to Drive are five important rules that teen drivers need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel. These rules address the worst dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, texting, seat belts, speeding, and extra passengers.

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of 14- to 18-year-olds in the United States.In 2012, there were 2,055 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes, and 859 (42%) of those teen drivers were killed in the crashes. You are the biggest influence on your teen’s safety behind the wheel, but according to a recent survey, only 25 percent of parents take the time to talk with their kids about the dangers of driving, including:

  • Alcohol: Teen drivers are at a greater risk of death in alcohol-related crashes compared to drivers in all other age groups, even though they’re too young to legally buy or possess alcohol. Nationally in 2012, 28 percent of the young drivers (15 to 20 years old) who were killed in crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.
  • Seat belts: Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. Whether it’s immaturity or a false perception that they’re invincible—teens aren’t buckling up. In 2012, of all the young (15- to 20-year-old) passenger vehicle drivers killed in crashes, more than half (55%) of those killed were unbuckled.
  • Texting: Texting or dialing while driving is more than just risky—it’s deadly. In 2012, among drivers 15 to 19 years old who were distracted in fatal crashes, nearly 1 in 5 were distracted by phones. This age group had the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use.
  • Speeding: In 2012, speeding was a factor in almost half (48%) of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers.
  • Passengers: Teens may be very social, but the car isn’t the place to socialize. Extra passengers for a teen driver can lead to disastrous results. In fact, according to a recent survey by the Allstate Foundation, half of all teen drivers even admit that they are safer drivers without their friends as passengers.


You’ve guided your teen this far. Driving is a new chapter, a step toward independence for many teens. But your job’s not done. Surveys show that teens whose parents impose driving restrictions typically engage in less risky driving and are involved in fewer crashes. They can’t listen if you don’t talk.

October 19-25, join parents across the country in the “5 to Drive” campaign.

Get the facts about teen driving and share some of the grim statistics with your teen.

Know Connecticut’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) restrictions and enforce them.

Remind your teen that driving is a privilege to be taken seriously.

Set the Rules Before They Hit the Road.

ct-graduated-driving-lawsRemember the “5 to Drive”:

1 No Drinking and Driving.

Set a good example by not driving after drinking. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix.

2 Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back.

Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time, your teen is more likely to follow suit. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, no matter how far.

3 Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.

Remind your teen about the dangers of texting or dialing while driving, and that the phone is off-limits when they are on the road. It’s equally important to model safe driving habits for your teen—you shouldn’t text and drive either.

4 Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.

Drive the speed limit and require your teen to do the same. Explain that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples.

5 No More Than One Passenger at Any Time.

Don’t allow your teen to drive with more than one passenger at a time. Check your State’s GDL law, though; it may prohibit any passengers.


Start your conversation during Teen Driver Safety Week, but continue the conversation every day.

Even if it seems like they’re tuning you out, keep telling them. These powerful messages will get through.

Get creative! Talking is only one way to discuss safe driving. You could write your teen a letter, leave notes in the car, or use social media to get your message across.

Get it in writing. Create a parent-teen driving contract that outlines the rules and consequences for your teen driver. Hang the signed contract in a visible place.

For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit