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Whither Empty Car Dealerships?

Richard Florida reports the results of a poll of what should be done with the 2000+ car dealerships being shuttered as a result of the bankruptcy reorganizations of Chrysler and GM:

  • Ask the local residents about what the community needs (222 votes)
  • Urban gardens (200 votes)
  • Create walkable, vibrant places and improve current communities (138 votes)
  • Farmers’ markets and local events (126 votes)
  • Solar and wind energy park/vehicle charging stations (102 votes)

Odd, no, that the main concern of the respondents doesn’t involve the owners turning the space into something that will generate profits and enable them to continue to employ dozens of people per location?  One supposes that farmers markets and vehicle charging stations could replace some of the lost jobs; not so much “urban gardens” and “walkable, vibrant places.”

For that matter, the “planetizens” seem to have an odd sense of spacial relationships.  Aside from perhaps a handful of megastores, few car lots are big enough to turn into enjoyable parks, let alone put up enough wind turbines to make up a useful energy production facility.

Photo by Flickr user themarina under Creative Commons license.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m confused. Aren’t these dealerships on private property, many probably owned by the dealerships themselves? I suppose they could be eminent domained but they’ed still have to pay the owners for the land. I doubt that many states, counties, or municipalities have the ready money to make the purchases.

    And I suspect that lots of local governments will have problems borrowing money in the current climate.

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  2. Herb says:

    Urban gardens? On concrete? Umm-kay…

    I suppose many closed car dealerships will be repurposed…into car dealerships for other companies. Strange that didn’t make the list.

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  3. Dave Schuler says:

    I suspect that quite a few dealers plan to try to make just the sort of arrangement that Herb suggests above, that it may take some time, and that they’d be reluctant to see in the current climate, anyway.

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  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    Thanks for taking one for the unions guys, the U.S.S.A. is greatandmorefull for your sacrifice.

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  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    And I suspect that lots of local governments will have problems borrowing money in the current climate.

    lol, yup that global warming is WREAKING EVERYTHING!!!!!!

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  6. PD Shaw says:

    The closest Chrysler dealerships closed near me were all Ford/ Chrysler dealerships.

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  7. just me says:

    I suppose many closed car dealerships will be repurposed…into car dealerships for other companies. Strange that didn’t make the list.

    I predict that most of them will end up as used car dealerships rather than urban gardens.

    We had a car dealership close down one of it’s satellite dealerships and combine with the larger one the next town over (not Chrysler, but a business move of the owner probably trying to save money). I don’t think the owner owned the land though-think he leased it from the property owner.

    The property would actually make a pretty decent sized farmer’s market, but I suspect the building will end up torn down-other than a car repair shop, I don’t really picture the property being useful for other businesses-it just screams “Car Dealership.”

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  8. PD Shaw says:

    I have to add, looking at the G.M. dealerships being closed over at the Huffington Post, a lot of these are not particularly urban areas, which the poll respondent’s assume.

    GM Closings

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  9. mpw280 says:

    Why would private ownership of the dealership be worrying to the people who want to take them over and make them into something else. We all know that private ownership of assets is bad, “The One” tells us so. It is that or the fact that the dealership owners voted for the wrong party or choose not to vote for the rino. mpw

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  10. floyd says:

    Many dealerships could remain open as used car centers and repair shops. Most profits are made on parts and service anyway. The Name out front being gone will hurt, but the distance required to reach a dealership will help.
    Eliminating dealerships is eliminating an edge that American car companies have had over their competition. Every small town in America has had an American car dealership, while the buyer had a long commute to a city for sales and service of foreign makes. These dealers were not a net cost to the manufacturer and their loss ,by forced closings, will hurt rather than help overall sales.

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  11. Steve Plunk says:

    Unicorn farms? If we’re going to dream…

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  12. JKB says:

    I too was confused that none of the alternatives involved what the private owner might do to regain his lost revenue. Not to mention, there seems to be a lack of consideration that the local government is now, not going to be getting the tax revenue.

    Used car lot is most likely, especially, given that once the franchise is revoked, the “new” cars still on the lot can’t be sold as new.

    A second use could be for a repair shop since people will be trying to keep their good cars working once the government mandated death traps become the only alternative.

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  13. just me says:

    Most profits are made on parts and service anyway. The Name out front being gone will hurt, but the distance required to reach a dealership will help.

    Only problem is that I imagine a huge part of that was the fact that they did approved warranty work, and with the dealership franchise gone, I am not sure they will be able to do the warranty work, although they can certainly continue to do other repairs and cars outside the warranty will still need work.

    I do wonder though with so many of the dealerships being in rural areas, if people living in rural areas may have issues getting warranty work done.

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  14. mpw280 says:

    A car is new until it is registered, so its new until it gets plates, that is why dealerships have dealer plates, they can sell cars with hundreds of miles on them as new because they haven’t been registered. mpw

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