California Towns Bailout Car Dealerships

Too important to fail? Victorville and Norco, CA have approved loans to local car dealers to keep them afloat.
January 27, 2009, 10am PST | Tim Halbur
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"Car dealerships in these towns have been the economic engine of local government as well as pillars of the community, sponsoring everything from Little Leagues to rodeos. Victorville Mayor Rudy Cabriales said car dealers are the city's largest source of sales-tax revenue. Victorville, a city of about 106,000, projects sales and use tax revenue of $19.5 million in fiscal 2009, down 24.5% from last year.

Dealerships have been hit hard as consumer spending has plummeted. Last year Californians bought 433,507 fewer cars than in 2007, a drop of 23%, according to the California New Car Dealer Association.

About 1,000 of the country's 20,000 dealerships closed last year, according to numbers from Detroit's Big Three auto makers. The National Automotive Dealers Association expects more than 1,100 to fail this year."

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Published on Monday, January 26, 2009 in The Wall St. Journal
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