Superior Toyota will close their doors

February 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
President Obama stressed the issue of credit when he talked about our economic recovery, saying it has to loosen-up so people can start buying cars and homes again. Tight credit is being cited for Tuesday's closure of a Toyota-Scion Dealership in Oakland that opened just two months ago.

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When word came down on Tuesday, that Superior Toyota and Scion of Oakland was closing its doors, repairs to Marco Ospina's car came to grinding halt.

"He told me it was not fixed. I would have to take it to another dealership because they're closing up," said Marco Ospina, a car owner.

Just two months ago when the Superior Toyota dealership opened at I880 and Hegenberger, its goal was to sell 400 cars a month. It boasted the biggest showroom in the Bay Area, and prided itself on its green building.

"Our General Manager called everybody said the bank was going to close our finances and that was it. This place is over with," said Coong Tuynt, a Toyota service employee.

About 100 new employees were sent home in the district represented by Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid.

"You can't operate a business when the financing is being pulled back by Toyota as well as one of the major financial institutions in our country withdrew their financing," said Reid.

Reid says the banking news could have serious implications for other Oakland dealerships which made up about a third of the city's tax base. In all, 11 sister dealerships in California, were shut down including Superior Nissan in Fremont.

Last October, Automotive News called the owner of Superior Automotive Group, out of Long Beach, the fastest growing dealership group in the country.

"The bank is taking over and they need just one or two keys to work all the locks," said Rodney Berry, a locksmith.

One of the few thriving occupations is being a locksmith. Berry, who was called out to the Oakland dealership, says they've been very busy shutting down businesses and evicting home owners.

"We talked to the Sheriffs' Department today. They're doing about 500 evictions a month. So we get a big bulk of that also," said Berry.

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