Sales Job Watch Oct 11 2010

Car Dealers Out of Luck

By shareen pathak

Car dealers have it tough.

As auto giants like Chrysler and General Motors begin "restructuring" or "reorganizing", dealerships all over the country are closing, leaving thousands of salespeople out of a job, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Last year, 1,603 dealerships closed their doors, mostly because of the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies. Another 309 dealerships shut in the first eight months of this year.

Today, there are about 18,170 shops open, employing a whopping 91,200 workers. But more cuts are in the offing, following Ford's announcement last week that it plans to close 175 Lincoln dealers in the next two years.

The average dealership employs 49 people, with an annual payroll of $2.4 million, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Many dealers keep some of their staff and focus on selling other brands or used cars. But some, unable to offload the land, have to keep going. They either diversify into other businesses like tires and oil changes, or even into the furniture business.

And there's another option: franchising. Sears Holdings Corp. now has a franchise business that goes beyond shopping malls to offer auto-maintenance, something that many dealers can consider.

But for car salespeople, there aren't that many options out there, unless you're handy with a jack and knowledgeable about engine maintenance.

Write to Shareen Pathak

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