When I moved to Auburn, WA just over three years ago, one of the main roads leading into town was filled with new and used car dealerships. Today a few of the largest dealers along auto row remain such as Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen, but many of the smaller, independent ones are empty.
But today, I noticed one of the larger and newest dealers had stopped selling cars. The Nissan dealership couldn’t have been more than a couple years old. The building and sign look brand new. But not a sign of a single new or used car for sale. Not to mention the jobs that just disappeared.
According to the sign in the lower left corner, the service department is still open although I don’t know if that’s still the case. It wasn’t open when I took this picture this afternoon.
This next picture was taken across the street from the main Nissan building that sold new cars. This is the used car lot for the same dealer. All the cars had been removed, but they left the blue sign on the grass that says, “SALE”.
No Nissans for sale here. But the yellow sign hanging off the adjacent car dealer said something about getting a Suzuki for $189/month. I’ll pass.
I wonder what auto row will look like in 6 months or a year from now? Will the Honda, Toyota and VW dealerships survive? As I drove back home I noticed a couple browsing cars at the Honda dealer. I didn’t see a single person looking at cars at Toyota or VW. Many dealerships displayed banners touting low interest rates or large rebates. One said, “YES, we have money to lend!!”
Hoods were opened, parking lights were illuminated on and balloons flew from antennas attached to new cars.
It’s hard to imagine these tactics will attract many buyers in this economy.