Local Ford dealership closes, economy blamed

November 19, 2008 3:36:46 PM PST
Executives for the big three U.S. automakers were back on Capitol Hill for a second day, making their case for why they need bailout money from the government to survive. In suburban Crystal Lake, a dealership that is a victim of the economic crisis closed its doors Wednesday.

Extreme Ford in Crystal Lake is officially out of business. All the cars are gone. Even the phones will be auctioned off on eBay.

It's a big difference from a few weeks ago when the owners were announcing in commercials that the entire stock must go.

Some cars were sold. The remaining cars were divided up between nearby dealerships.

Standing in the empty showroom it's a bitter pill to swallow for some long-time employees.

"It's sad to see a business go out like that," said employee Mary Rowlett.

"We were hanging in there for awhile, but the public were just driving by the store and not pulling in," said John Walsh.

Walsh, a porter with the dealership for 31 years, has seen good and lean times with the company but says customers virtually stopped coming in the last few months, a reaction to the economic downturn. The employees are keeping their eyes on Washington D.C. where the heads of the big three are asking the government to cut them in on the bailout package.

"I'm asking about General Motors and how much you need today to keep you alive so we could structure a reasonable loan contract by March 30," said Rep. Paul Kanjorski, (D) Pennsylvania.

"We have talked about an allocation of the $25 billion that would be based on our U.S. relevant market share, which would suggest total availability against that facility for GM of $10 million to $12 million," said Rick Wagoner Jr., CEO, General Motors.

"Maybe I'm dense or something, but I just don't quite understand what the hell you just told me," Kanjorski replied.

Proponents of the $25 billion lifeline include those who sell cars and say the government should not just help manufacturers but dealers as well.


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