GM WILL FOLLOW - AT 6:43 A.M. ET: Despite a few good signs, most of the economic indicators are depressing. We learned today that Europe's economy has contracted at the fastest pace in 13 years. And here at home, one of the great names in American industry is in agony:
DETROIT — The historic downsizing of the American auto industry swept through new-car showrooms on Thursday, as dealers across the country, from Fuller Jeep in Rockland, Me., to Island Dodge in Hawaii, learned that they would be forced to close their doors.
In all, nearly 800 dealers selling various Chrysler brands were given notice Thursday that they would be cut off next month. Meanwhile, General Motors is preparing to close up to 2,600 more of its dealers by next year.
Dealers like Ward Drennen, who runs the business his great-grandfather opened 101 years ago near Birmingham, Ala., learned of their fate in letters delivered Thursday morning by U.P.S.
“I had a small crowd around me when I opened it, all hoping for the best,” said Mr. Drennen, who took over ownership of Don Drennen Chrysler Jeep from his ailing father only a few days ago.
COMMENT: The total dealer closings, including those of GM, are expected to cost about 187,000 jobs. That is a staggering loss.
We have yet to see any evidence that the president's "stimulus" package is stimulating anything but a lot of pork spending by Congress. We have serious problems, and a precarious international situation. It's a time for vigilance, and for a minimum of false economic platitudes. If our economic plight continues, the mid-term election campaign could be one of the most combative, and bitter, in recent memory.
May 15, 2009