Saturday, May 16, 2009

Auto dealership closures have profound consequences for rural communities

Listen to an NPR story here, with the dateline Peterborough, New Hampshire, population 5,883.
The loss of the featured dealership there, in relatively densely populated New England, means that residents will have to travel only about 20 minutes to reach another Chrysler/Jeep dealership. However, the story reports a much greater impact on the town in terms of its loss of a significant community presence for purposes of charity sponsorships and civic engagement.

Another NPR story, this one by Martin Kaste, discussed the rural angle explicitly, also noting that many closing dealerships have been pillars of their community. Yet here is an excerpt from Chrysler's bankruptcy filing that mentions the downsides to rural dealerships:
"Many rural locations also served a diminishing population of potential consumers. Some dealership facilities became outdated. Other locations faced declining traffic count and declining populations."
On the other hand, another NPR report quoted had GM officials regarding the importance of their rural market base.

Read here and here earlier blog posts about the issue of struggling car dealerships in rural America.

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