Want To Buy American? You Can't In San Francisco

May 10, 2011
Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

As incredible as this may sound, the city of San Francisco, California, has just lost its final domestic car dealership. 

San Francisco Ford Lincoln Mercury closed on April 30, 2011, which means that there are now no domestic new car dealerships within the city’s 47.6 square mile area. Want to buy a Ford product? The closest dealership is now in Serramonte, about 12 miles out of the city. If you want to buy a Chevy Volt, you have to drive to Colma, about 10 miles south of San Francisco.

Dennis Fitzpatrick, regional vice president of the California New Car Dealer’s Association, explained the situation to the San Francisco Chronicle as follows: “It’s a tough market. Imports have a much bigger share in San Francisco. When you can sell 100 imports a month as opposed to 25 domestic, and what with the rents and real estate, it’s tough to make a U.S. car dealership pencil. San Francisco is not loyal to anything domestic; it’s allegiance is to anything but domestic.”

It would be easy to dismiss Fitzpatrick as reactionary; after all, he does own Concord Chevrolet, located some 30 miles east of the city. The proof, however, is in the build-out: Nissan is building a flagship dealership on the site of a former San Francisco Chevy dealership. When completed, it will be one of the largest automobile dealerships in the United States.  There’s no shortage of Audi, BMW, Honda, VW or Mazda dealerships near Van Ness Avenue (“car dealer row” in San Francisco).

Just don’t plan on finding a Ford, Chevy or Chrysler dealership there.

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