Local auto dealers hopeful for 'Big 3' bailout

By Cody Holyoke - bio | email

Prattville, Ala. (WSFA) -- Lamar Wagner, owner of Prattville's Victory Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge disagrees with Senator Richard Shelby and others who would deny the "Big 3" auto makers some financial relief.

"The auto industry's not looking for a handout," he explained.

Wagner's dealership had to cut back because of hard economic times--that means layoffs and fewer cars on the lot.

"We have a sales rate, and you can't afford to keep them here on the lot if they're not selling, and you don't order if they're not selling," Wagner said.

So, how do you jump start a industry about to break down?  Motorists say leveling the playing field for domestic auto companies might do the trick.

"It'd be better if they put a tax on imported cars..that would help the American manufacturers a lot more," said Bob Maciej of Minnesota.

While some people shy away at the term "government bailout," residents say towing companies to financial health may be necessary--especially with a huge chunk of tax money and millions of American jobs on the line.

"I don't think it's fair, but I think we should do it though, because the auto industry produces jobs for a lot of people.  Every little bit helps," explained motorist Tommy Williams.

That's a point car dealers say may be the most important of all.

"If you put all these people out of work, you're going to further hurt this economy rather than help it," Wagner said.