Rell Protects Little Auto From Big

The automobile industry has taken a wallop in this economy and while consumers are hurting, some local dealerships are taken a beating so bad that they need the Midas touch -- the car place, not the guy who turned stuff to gold.

Friday, Gov. M. Jodi Rell plans to sign a bill that would give the local industry a tune up and require that manufacturers buy back new car inventory if they force dealers to close.

The bill also protects dealers when manufacturers eliminate product lines. This recently happened when GM put an end to Hummers and Pontiacs.

Nationwide, dealers’ are sputtering like a bad motor. In 2009 alone, 1,000 new-car dealerships are expected to close across the country.

In Connecticut, we've lost 50 dealerships since last January, and half of those have been in the last four months, according to Jim Fleming, president of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association.

The Southworth Dodge dealership closed its doors on May 1, after 15 years in business,  the News-Times reported. The dealership’s owner, Jim Williams, and his family have severed their relationship with Chrysler.

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