An OC-Based Car Empire Breaks Down

An OC-Based Car Empire Breaks Down
madaise / Flickr / Creative Commons

The Capistrano Insider caught a story in Automotive News about Newport Beach's Mike Kahn, who, until recently, ran one of the fastest-growing car dealership chains in America. Or at least, that's how Automotive News ranked his company in 2007. Come 2009, though,  the market has slain, among many other things, Kahn's business.

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, Kahn closed five dealerships--three Nissan stores in the Los Angeles area, one in Fremont, Calif., and a Toyota store in Oakland, Calif.--after Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. cut off floorplanning. Three hundred employees were terminated.

The company closed a Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge store in the Los Angeles area in early February. In December, Kahn sold a Toyota store in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

The strip of car dealerships along Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano--where Kahn's Toyota dealership was--has been undergoing a few changes, with dealerships closing, changing ownership and switching brands. It's the local fallout of the nationwide automobile slump, and it's not a good sign for city governments. SJC, where dealership sales taxes recently accounted for 43 percent of the city's sales-tax revenue, is especially feeling the hurt. How much hurt? Two words: no float.

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