"The number of franchised new car dealerships in the U.S. was already slipping before the auto company bankruptcies, but 1,900 dealerships have closed since January 2008. U.S. auto sales fell to a 26-year low of about 10 million this year, compared with 17 million over most of the previous decade.
As part of its deep restructuring, General Motors Co. has said it will cut 2,400 dealers from its 6,000-dealer network by next fall. Chrysler Group LLC slashed 789 dealers in June. Responding to backlash from dealership owners, Congress passed a bill this month to give dealers a stronger arbitration process to challenge the automakers' decisions.
Many showrooms are still being torn down, observers say, but developers are not so quick to bulldoze the finer buildings before exploring other uses."