Car Dealerships Closing Shop

Car dealerships -- long-sought by cities as big tax revenue generators -- are struggling in the economic downturn. Nearly 600 have closed this year, and another 100 are expected to shut down by the end of the year.
October 30, 2008, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates 700 new-car dealerships will close this year, up from 430 last year, and taking with them an estimated 37,100 jobs. That is a heavy blow to a key piece of the U.S. economy. The country's 20,700 dealerships accounted for $693 billion in sales last year, or 18% of all retail sales, according to NADA. Dealership wages and salaries make up 13% of the nation's retail payroll."

"Similar scenes have been playing out around the country. According to NADA, 590 new-car dealerships this year closed through September."

"The markets most vulnerable to dealer closings are California, which has the most dealers of any state, followed by Texas, Pennsylvania and New York, according to NADA. In Michigan and Texas, dealer sales accounted for 20% of total retail sales in the states last year, the highest percentage of any states."

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Published on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 in The Wall Street Journal
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