By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Close to 40% of the employees at Tulsa's United Ford will be looking for new jobs. The dealership closed up shop on Tuesday. The move was a collaborative effort between the Michigan company that owns United Ford and Tulsa's three other Ford dealerships. It's part of the Ford Motor Company's plan to reduce the number of dealerships across the country.
The banners are coming down, the sign is being removed, and a fleet of cars is leaving the lot. United Ford has closed its doors. Nearly 60 employees work at the auto lot. The majority of them learned they're being moved to different dealerships.
"Basically we're just trying to absorb as many of those employees as we can. It looks like we're going to end up around 60% of those employees are going to be absorbed by our three companies," said Ford dealer Bob Hurley.
Bob Hurley Ford, Bill Knight Ford, Joe Cooper Ford and Jim Norton Ford will now be the only Ford dealers in the Tulsa city limits.
Three dealerships worked with Ford Motor Company and Penske Automotive, the company that owns United Ford, in an effort to reduce the number of dealerships across the country.
"Right now, I think that you've got too many dealers in certain marketplaces. For the market to stay strong, you need to have the appropriate amount of dealers in each market by franchise," said Ford dealer Bob Hurley.
The National Automotive Dealership Association blames the credit crisis for closing the dealerships. A spokesman told The News On 6 they expect another 200 to close in the United States by the end of the year and predict nearly 1,000 dealerships will shut their doors in 2009.
Bob Hurley says the decision to close United was difficult for Penske Automotive, but he believes it's a good move for Tulsa in the long run.
"We did the best that we could in the situation and I think that the three dealers in the market that stepped up to do the consolidation to help them is just proof that we believe in the city and the community and want to make it a better place for them to do business," said Ford dealer Bob Hurley.
All warranties and service agreements recently purchased at United Ford will be honored by the other dealers. Management at United Ford was not able to comment.
12/16/2008 Tulsa's United Ford Closing Down