Why reopen car dealerships now?

Alisa Roth Jul 16, 2009
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Why reopen car dealerships now?

Alisa Roth Jul 16, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: And the automobile industry has a lot to do with those without jobs. As part of their respective bankruptcies, GM and Chrysler shut down dealership after dealership across the country. Now there are three separate bills in Congress trying to get them reopened. But why focus on dealers? Alisa Roth reports.


Alisa Roth: It’s not exactly a great time to be selling cars. People aren’t buying them, and factories aren’t producing many of them.

I called the National Automobile Dealers Association to ask why anybody would want to be in the business right now.

Bailey Wood: Boy, that’s a tough question.

Bailey Wood is the group’s spokesman:

Wood: Automotive retailing has, is, and continues to be a significant part of the economic fabric of the United States.

Especially in small communities, where dealers have traditionally been big employers.

Ron Harbour is an industry consultant in Michigan. He says people will make money selling cars again, one day:

Ron Harbour: If sales go up to similar levels where they were several years ago, those dealers that are left are going to be very, very profitable, and those will be very good businesses to be in.

Harbour says the uproar in Washington over closing dealerships now is political. Most states don’t have auto plants, but just about every congressional district has auto dealerships.

I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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