Denny Hecker closes 6 car lots, lays off employees, apologizes


As the auto industry begs for cash from Congress, the local dealers can't seem to survive the wait. On Nov. 13, we reported on Denny Hecker's financial troubles, so the latest news comes at no surprise.

Six of Hecker's dealerships have closed and three others have been sold, according to the Star Tribune. The closings also mean 400 employees, about a third of his workforce, are out of a job. The shutdowns include the Blaine Bargain Lot, Forest Lake Chrysler Jeep Dodge Mitsubishi, Monticello Dodge Ford and Mercury Suzuki Kia, Rosedale Hyundai, Shakopee Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Stillwater Ford Lincoln Mercury.

More from the Star Tribune:

"The decision to realign our dealerships came as we found ourselves in the midst of a 'perfect storm' of economic bad news: a financial crisis on Wall Street, chaos in the housing market, consumer confidence at an all-time low and the sight of the Big 3 on their knees in Washington asking for a bailout loan," Hecker said.
The Star Tribune went and checked out the abandoned lots. Don't bother trying as you won't find a soul there to help you.
Vehicles at the Denny Hecker Hyundai lot in Roseville had been put to a new use -- blocking off the entrances. The showroom doors were locked. At the used-car lot next door, desks had been cleaned off and computers had been removed. A sheet of paper taped to the doors referred people to a toll-free phone number and an e-mail address.
Customers with questions can email customer service or call toll-free 888-836-8383.

Although Hecker had some of his own problems that were unique, dealerships across the country are facing slumping sales in a tough economy. The same day, General Motors filed suit in U.S. District Court to stop Hecker from selling Hyundai vehicles in his Inver Grove Heights Southview Chevrolet showroom.

Newspaper readers who actually look at the ads in print also got a written apology from Hecker.

Hecker explains the restructuring of the company as well as the future of the auto business. Check it out below: