Wall Street crisis has car dealerships reeling

The financial turmoil on Wall Street has car dealerships across the state fighting to stay afloat.

Officials say car sales countrywide are down 11 percent from last year forcing nearly 600 of the nation's 21,000 new car dealerships to close their doors. Twenty-five dealerships in New Jersey have closed in the last two years.

Douglas Auto Group Sales Manager Kurt Steger blames the lack of foot traffic in his dealership to lenders taking a closer look at consumer credit.

"There was a point in time where everything was done by computers," says Steger. "But now, they're definitely looking at each customer on an individual basis just to make sure they want to buy that deal."

Eighty-three percent of applications for car loans were approved in 2007 while only 63% have been approved so far this year.

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