December 4, 2008

Auto dealers desperate as sales plunge

U.S. automobile sales are at a 15-year low, forcing many dealerships out of business, an industry trade association said.

Chairwoman of the National Automobile Dealers Association Annette Sykora said 19,700 dealerships could survive through the end of the year, a drop of about 900 since January and a dramatic shift from the 50,000 U.S. dealerships that were around in the 1940s, CNN reported Thursday.

Many displaced dealership families might have to leave town in search of work in other places, compounding the loss. This same scene would play out in hundreds of communities in the U.S., Sykora said.

As executives from Detroit's Big Three pleaded for bailout funds in Washington, some dealerships have resorted to desperate measures.

A newspaper advertisement in Miami informs customers they can Buy one, get two!

The deal is not quite two for the price of one, as customers must pay full price for a new Dodge truck and pay about $3,000 in fees and taxes to get the second truck.

Nevertheless, we've been fielding hone calls and e-mail inquiries from every state in the country, said Ali Ahmed, sales manager at University Dodge in Miami.