Another Sacramento auto dealer closes its doors; 14th this year

Another car dealer has folded in the region, and it's becoming increasingly clear that a government bailout for the U.S. automakers would translate into even fewer dealerships in places like Sacramento.

Auburn Buick Pontiac GMC on Monday became the 14th dealer in the greater Sacramento region to close this year, and the third in Auburn. "There's no one around here except the people packing up the dealership," said an employee answering the phone Wednesday.

The Auburn dealer is the latest casualty of a downturn that's humbled the entire industry. Parking their now-infamous corporate jets, top executives drove from Detroit to Washington in hybrids this week to beg Congress for up to $34 billion in emergency loans. Hearings are set for today and Friday.

High on the agenda is Detroit's promise of a significant downsizing that includes fewer brands and dealers. General Motors Corp. said it would eliminate 1,750 dealerships by 2012, more than one in four. Ford Motor Co. hinted that dealerships in big urban areas are especially vulnerable.

Steve Snyder, who owns Gold Rush Chevrolet Subaru in Auburn, said fewer dealers probably makes sense.

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