There are reports today that 2,000 U.S. new-vehicle dealerships will close in 2008 and 2009, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.
That’s one in every 10 dealers, assuming though that no automakers file for bankruptcy next year, which would guarantee thousands of additional shutdowns.
Part of the closures are the result of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler trying to shrink their U.S. retail networks in dealer-saturated cities. But the credit crisis is bringing other dealers down randomly as plunging new-vehicle sales and tight credit for dealers and consumers are adding casualties to the list.
Some automotive writers say this is bad news.
Seriously though, have you bought or shopped for a new car recently? It can be pure torture as dealers attempt every possible deception in an effort to wring every cent out of unsuspecting car buyers.
I love new cars, and I’m infatuated with the auto industry. I’m addicted to reading and writing reviews, test driving and even buying new vehicles. The only thing I despise about new cars is the process of being forced to do business with often-shady new-car dealers.
I have run across some decent, no-pressure auto dealers in my day, but in my experience they are the exception. They should be the rule.
Maybe the threat of closure will inspire change. Maybe in an effort to bring more people into their dealerships, the business of selling cars will evolve into a pleasant, easy and satisfying experience built on respect rather than deception.
Wouldn’t you love to drive out of a dealership in your new car without thinking you may have just been financially screwed?