In 2006, Ford began to shrink its dealership network in order to more efficiently align its distribution network. Three years later, it appears that the hardest hit are the company's stand-alone Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. While there were 619 Lincoln-Mercury dealerships nationwide just a few years ago, the number had dwindled down to just 357 at the beginning of 2009.
As we reported earlier, Gregory Graham, a third-generation car dealership owner in Ligonier, Pennsylvania tragically died of a heart attack last month while setting fire to the cars on his lot. His company, Graham Colonial Motors, was evidently burdened by more than a million dollars in liens, in addition to the daily woes of doing business in this business climate.
With each passing day bringing more tough news about the state of the car companies and the plight of the autoworker, it's sometimes easy to overlook the effect that all of this economic gulag is having on mom-and-pop dealerships across the country. Bringing that idea into stark focus is news that Gregory Graham, a Pennsylvania car dealer recently died of a heart attack while torching cars at his own ailing dealership.