May 13, 2009

Auto dealers protest forced closings

U.S automobile dealers headed to Washington said a plan to eliminate dealerships would cost the country 180,000 jobs in the communities they serve.

President Barack Obama's automotive task force has been pushing General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC to reduce dealerships as part of their long-range restructuring plans.

By forcing the issue, it's going to have some real negative consequences in many communities, where dealers are the biggest private employers and are involved in the local communities supporting charities, John McEleney, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, told USA Today.

General Motors Corp, has plans to cut 400 dealerships a year through 2012. The company, which accepted $15.4 billion in emergency federal loans, is trying to pare down costs in the midst of a prolonged sales slump.

The response of Chevy Chase Cars in Bethesda, Md., was not one that would help any U.S. automaker.

The dealership informed customers recently that it would switch from Chevrolet to Nissan.

I feel very fortunate that I got out when I did, because I'm very worried about my friends who are GM dealers. It's going to be a tough road for them, Chevy Chase Cars President John Bowis said.