San Francisco loses last domestic car dealership

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Golden Gate City has lost its last domestic car dealer.  Since San Francisco Ford Lincoln Mercury closed last week, the city lacks a single Ford/Lincoln, GM/Chevy/Buick/Cadillac, or Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer in its 47.6 square mile territory.  The dealer’s original owner returned its franchise three years ago to Ford, which has been running the shop since.  Ford Lincoln Mercury president Mel Turner said that when Ford’s attempts to sell the dealer fell through, the company had to make a “very tough decision” to close its doors in San Francisco.

While Ford is recovering nationally, with a new set of globally-competitive models that are selling well and boast higher quality almost at par with Japanese rivals, San Francisco car buyers don’t seem to have caught on.  Mike Hollywood, a sales manager at Ellis Brooks Chevrolet — a seven-story, 195,000 square foot facility that stop selling Chevrolets 2.5 years ago and will soon become a flagship Nissan/Infiniti dealer — said, “People in San Francisco just weren’t buying Cadillac Escalades. You can’t even park them in the parking structures here.”

Meanwhile, dealers of import brands, from Audi to Toyota, Scion, Honda, VW, Mazda, BMW, and Mercedes are doing great business just down the road from the former Ford dealer.  Dennis Fitzpatrick, regional VP of the California New Car Dealers Association, said “It’s a tough market. Imports have a much bigger share in San Francisco.  “When you can sell 100 imports a month as opposed to 25 domestic, and what with the rents and real estate, it’s tough to make a U.S. car dealership pencil.”

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

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