Chelsea's Palmer Ford dealership to shut down, owner confirms
Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:05 p.m. and again at 12:37 p.m.
Chelsea's 95-year-old Palmer Ford dealership will shut down, its owner confirmed this morning.
Biff Weber, third-generation owner of the downtown Chelsea dealership, said the move is his decision. He's meeting with Ford corporate officials this afternoon in Dearborn to determine the timing and additional details on the wind-down.
Weber suggested economic conditions forced his hand.
The decision comes after Chelsea Update reported this week that Palmer Ford's new-car inventory had evaporated.
Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bob Pierce was not available for comment this morning.
Feeney suggested the vacant property on Main Street in Chelsea could offer redevelopment opportunities.
"They're going to leave a big vacancy," she said. "If it can’t be a dealership, it would be nice to have a lovely, beautiful parking lot with some adjacent offices. That as a parking lot would solve a lot of problems downtown."
Feeney emphasized that the "tremendous support the Palmer family" provided to the Chelsea community would be missed.
"I don’t think you can even measure it," she said.
Palmer Ford's decision comes during a roller-coaster ride for the dealership industry, which celebrated the sales successes of the federal government's Cash For Clunkers program even as automakers are cutting more than 2,000 dealerships.
Ford has been pursuing "surgical trimming" of its 3,770-store dealership footprint throughout the country, according to Ward's Auto. Ford officials have said that they weren't conducting a massive reduction in dealerships.
That compares to the major reduction in dealerships at General Motors and Chrysler, which collectively are eliminating nearly 2,000 dealerships throughout the U.S.