According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the very last domestic dealership in the greater San Francisco area closed its doors a little over 10 days ago. Previously, San Francisco Ford, Lincoln, Mercury was the only dealership selling new products with an American badge on the grille in all of the 47.6 square miles of the city (the Chrysler-Jeep dealer shown above went bust in 2008). Ford took over operations at that dealer almost three years ago after the original owners walked away. After talks with various other local franchise owners fell through, Ford has finally cut off the lights for good.

But domestic dealers have faced a tough climate in San Francisco for years thanks to a much larger share of import sales compared to the rest of the country. According to one source quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle, import vehicles outsell their domestic counterparts 4:1 in the Bay area.

Those rare San Francisco domestic owners will now have to travel outside of the city for their factory maintenance and repair, which likely won't do anything to help American manufacturers better their outlook in the near future.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 136 Comments
      hongkongbeef
      • 3 Years Ago
      I walked by this dealer 2 days ago and noticed it was closed. Felt bad for the employee's. I believe the main problem is with the sky high cost of property/rent in San Francisco. You would have to sell a whole lot of Fiesta's to be able to cover operating costs. In addition, people outside of SF are NOT going to drive into SF to buy a car unless it's a specialty car (ie Supercar). It's too much of a pain when there are a bunch of dealers immediately outside of SF. You cannot even properly test drive a car in SF, unless you are only interested in making slow speed right turns in traffic. People who actually live in SF don't need a car. Many cannot drive and use public transportation. Finally, 47 square miles sounds like a lot but it is not. That is less than 7 miles by 7 miles. I can walk 1/3 of the width of the City on my lunch break. And that's a round trip. I bet I could the entire width if I only had to walk 1 way. I predict all non-luxury brand car dealers will be gone from SF within 5 years.
        goober1424
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hongkongbeef
        Spot on. Most major cities are the same way. The middle class doesn't really exist inside city limits. The wealthy in a city will buy a luxury car while the working class is riding public transportation. The middle class is outside the city in the suburbs where land is cheaper and lots are larger.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        789dm
        • 3 Years Ago
        NYC we have many car dealer ship IN Manhattan. And NYC have same problem like SF they want to ban cars altogether but so far car owners from NJ, CT, PA, Upstate, and Long Island still flock the city everyday. No wonder our Bus is slower than a chicken (yes its faster to walk crosstown than taking public transport.)
      Bro
      • 3 Years Ago
      For many San Franciscan's it's just as easy to drive out to Daly City/Colma for a car. And there you will find GM and Ford...Tax is cheaper there too. Also, Domestic B and C class cars which work best in SF weren't exactly competitive until recently. Want a hatchback that gets good mileage? Up until the new Fiesta and now the Focus you didn't have much of a reason to even look at Domestics. There's a large Asian population too which seems to flock more towards the Asian imports as well.
        Zoom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bro
        The tax issue is likely the bigger player.
      djvinnybricks
      • 3 Years Ago
      I currently live in San Francisco and drive a Dodge, so its not me failing to support American workers. :) Seriously though, its not like SF has an abundance of new car dealers anyway, and yes it seems apparent that local government and many locals would like to see cars banned from SF all together. I am the only person I know here who owns a car.
        Tippy Dobbs
        • 3 Years Ago
        @djvinnybricks
        I also live in SF and own a Dodge! Problem is, I never drive the thing because I just take the bus everywhere.
          Kai F. Lahmann
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tippy Dobbs
          SO let's wait for the day US car makers want to have busses of the roads, because they can be a real competition ;)
          A M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tippy Dobbs
          I take the bus too, but really, I don't want to give up my primo parking space!!!
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @djvinnybricks
        The real Americans thank you.
      poopoohead100
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's still lots of domestic dealers in the Bay Area to choose from. Actually, from where I live in San Francisco, Serramonte Ford in Colma is closer to me. With limited space and exorbitant prices for real estate, it doesn't really make much sense to have a dealer in the city.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This happened a while ago in the Twin Cities as well. In fact, I think there is only ONE new car dealer left in all of Minneapolis or St. Paul (a Volvo dealer). New car dealers are mostly out in the outer ring suburbs where land is cheap.
      axiomatik
      • 3 Years Ago
      This article is misleading and pointless. "very last domestic dealership in the *greater* San Francisco area closed its doors" - WRONG 'greater San Francisco' would be the entire Bay Area. The linked article is talking exclusively about the City of San Francisco, you know, the very high density, very expensive area at the very tip of the peninsula. Frankly, I'm surprised there are any car dealerships within the city limits at all, there are hardly even any gas stations, let alone giant car dealerships. It's not an area that lends itself to car ownership, or businesses that require giant parking lots. If you want a Chevy, drive 15 minutes down the peninsula and go to a Chevy dealer.
      BC
      • 3 Years Ago
      I live near a considerably more domestic-loving city (Cobalts and Cavaliers galore), and you're still not going to find many dealers of any brand inside the city limits--the ones that are have old-fashioned multi-story buildings with freight elevators to the car storage upstairs, but it's inefficient, costly to operate, and their buildings and land are worth more for redevelopment so they've been selling out and moving their franchises to larger, less expensive plots in the suburbs, where they are better able to compete with the dealers who are already there.
        Synthono
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BC
        I was about to say, operating a car dealer within a city is a pain. Even in the very small town where my parents live - a mere 7,000 people, not exactly crowded - has seen all of its car dealers move to the outskirts of town. Within city limits, there's no room to expand, so they go to the outskirts to allow for a large lot with room for many models and potential room for expansion.
      Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      You'll find that many cities are the same way where land is hard to come by and expensive. Not only do you need a building with a showroom, but you also have to store the inventory. For non-full line automakers like Suburu, Volvo, Hyundai, etc., it's a bit easier because the number of models is limited. But for Ford, GM, Chrysler or Toyota, it's gotta be tough to store adequate inventory of all of those models. I know alot of city dealers in Chicago have either shut down and sold off expensive land or moved to the near suburbs where they can get a decent sized plot of land and store some inventory on hand.
      JonZeke
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's the same in a lot of cities. The new urbanists are affluent, young and were brought up with a disdain for the bad old days of domestic motoring. Hopefully compact premium offerings from Cadillac, Lincoln and Chrysler can turn that ship around. Right now, the best domestic compacts haven't hit the radar of the Prius and TDI crowd, and the luxury makes are still making cars too big for a dense urban life. Hopefully the Caddy ATS can be the turning point for all that.
        Kai F. Lahmann
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JonZeke
        ATS? No Chance. Seen the Audi A1? There goes the way: Luxory subcompact with a very individual design (bicolor!)
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Kai F. Lahmann
          [blocked]
          sckid213
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Kai F. Lahmann
          Little early to call "no chance" on the ATS, considering nobody's seen it yet. Give it a chance.
      mikoprivat
      • 3 Years Ago
      well, by looking at the reflection in the window, the area doesn't look "high end" to me at all, if anything it looks like an ordinary run down commercial district...so i don't think the rent was an issue here...
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mikoprivat
        It's a small, crowded city that is notorious for its high cost of living. You can bet rent was an issue, especially when you can get more for less in a less densely populated area.
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not surprised, taxes and rent have to be high, and SF is not exactly know for being a hot bed for domestic cars.
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