Local Dealerships Worry About Future

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Ben Atkinson has run his Tallassee dealership for more than 20 years. Despite his hard work and motivation, his future in the car business is likely out of his control. "I'm concerned as every other Chrysler and GM dealer is concerned," he told WSFA 12 News.

Both Chrysler and GM will announce the closing of thousands of dealerships in the coming days. GM will slash 2600 - Chrysler 800 this Thursday. Dealers like Ben Atkinson don't think agree with that strategy. The automobile dealers association of Alabama tells us new car dealers employ about 15,000 people - with an annual payroll of $700 million. Atkinson worries most about what happens to his staff. He said, "I really don't have a road map to guide me. I just take one day at a time."

Even if Chrysler and GM both decide to cancel their dealership agreements with Ben Atkinson, he still has a Ford division.  However, that would cut his income, payroll, and workforce by two-thirds.

We do know one local Chrysler dealership is no longer in business. Victory Chrysler in Prattville has a closed sign in front of the building.  The owner told WSFA 12 News he feared his dealership would be one that Chrysler chose to close so he went ahead and closed the doors.

Posted by: Sally Pitts - bio | email