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A 3-year decline in car dealerships

If your local Ford or Chrysler dealer locked the front door and pulled the shade during the last few years, he wasn't alone. The multi-year automotive downturn had a severe impact not only on the manufacturers, but on the people who sell the cars and trucks to the public.

Thousands of automobile and truck dealerships have gone out of business in the last three years, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

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During the three-year period more than 3,500 dealerships closed up shop - a 12.4 percent decline.

In 1980, for example, 1,650 retail dealerships shut the door. Hardest hit that year were the Northeast and Southern regions, with 8 and 9 percent decreases.

A NADA study showing dealership loss in relation to employment size indicates that more small dealerships have been lost since 1977 than large dealerships.

The Western part of the country, which tends to have large dealerships, showed a smaller percentage decline in dealerships than did the other parts of the nation.