An Iowa State University economist says auto dealers in rural Iowa aresuffering along with their farmer-customers. I-S-U retail economist Ken Stone says in the past two decades, 27 percent ofIowa auto dealerships closed, fueled in large part by the farm crisis of the1980s. Stone says due to the latest “price crisis” in agriculture, sales arelagging again at rural auto dealerships.John Kelley manages Norman Brothers Ford in Primghar and isn’t selling manyvehicles to area farmers. He says farm traffic is virtually non-existent.Kelley says farmers put alot of miles on their vehicles, and most havedecided to rack up more mileage before their next trade-in.Stone, the I-S-U economist, says rural dealerships are also feeling thepressure from the major automakers who want to close down small townoperators in favor of larger — and in the automakers’ view, more efficient– large, bigger city dealers.
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