USA Today: The Big 2.8 "Cutting" U.S. Dealers
There's more than a little fact-glossing in a USA Today article on disappearing domestic-tied car dealers. "Having shuttered factories and eliminated hundreds of thousands of automaking jobs, Ford Motor (F), General Motors (GM) and Chrysler are now turning their attention to weeding out weaker dealers in bigger metro markets. They make fewer vehicles, so they don't need as many places to sell them." Translation: "weeding out weaker dealers" = paying off some of their dealers before the franchisees starve to death. "They make fewer vehicles" = losing market share like an hourglass loses sand. Although it's a tough job making people feel sorry for a car dealer, Chris Woodyard's tale of Keystone Ford's terminal illness gits 'er done– without dwelling overmuch on Detroit's culpability. Thankfully, there's some good old fashioned hard news here: the paper's [unattributed] Big 2.8 domestic dealer tally. "GM has reduced its dealerships by 229 to 6,807 in the past year; Ford had shrunk by 139 to fewer than 4,140 as of July; and Chrysler had eliminated 142 to 3,607 as of October." Compared to Toyota's roughly 1500-store U.S. dealer network, Detroit's numbers indicate Motown's still wearing a bloated albatross around its neck. So to speak.