Abandoned buildings and businesses have long been a driving incentive behind urban exploration, creating a trend of journalists, photographers and adventurers who shed light on the forgotten places of the world. Specifically, abandoned dealerships are especially inviting, as they offer a look into automotive history and usually come along with abandoned treasures like forgotten car models from the past.
While these dealerships are no longer open for business for a myriad of reasons, most of which are unknown, we can speculate on the possible reasons behind their closure. For the domestic dealerships, one possible explanation is the 2008-2010 automotive industry crisis, which connects to the 2008 recession. After the housing market collapsed and banks required federal assistance, the nation was left without credit, meaning many couldn't afford to buy or lease vehicles. This resulted in a serious decline in automotive sales and created widespread crisis among dealerships and car manufacturers alike. In fact, General Motors and Chrysler requested emergency loans to address their heavily reduced cash flow and by 2009, the same manufacturers were faced with bankruptcy. To prevent further destabilization of the economy, the US and Canada's government provided a staggering bailout of $85 billion dollars. So, it's safe to say that the 2008 automotive crisis had a huge impact on the car industry in the mid-2000s.
Whatever the case, this list includes abandoned dealerships from all over the world, including various European countries as well as Japan. So, without further ado, let's take a look at 20 eerie abandoned dealerships.
Models line the windows of this amazing, two-story dealership in Japan, filled with amazing European classics and deteriorating away. According to the article on Motor Punk, the showroom and surrounding lot contain a myriad of different makes and models, which are shown in the gallery of pictures. Among the lot are Volvos, Alpines, BMWs, Lotuses and Minis.
This truly is a time capsule of amazing vehicles, as many of these models aren't consumer grade or economical, meaning this was a high-end dealership with especially rare and expensive automotive treasures. I wish I could just go in and take my pick, as I would love to have any of these cars, even in their abandoned state.
18 Overgrown With Moss and Beyond Repair
Located in Vestal, New York, this abandoned dealership has been out of business a seriously long time. Ceiling panels are missing, the floor is overgrown with moss and the interior of the building has been exposed to the elements.
In fact, I don't even think there are any cars left at this dealership and probably have since been auctioned off, sold or maybe even stolen. I'd say that this is the most decrepit of the dealerships on this list, as the picture looks like something from a post-apocalyptic movie, when in reality, this building is still surrounded by the hustle and bustle of life, trapped in time.
17 A Row in the Showroom
This amazing find is an abandoned dealership in Denmark that has been closed since 1981. It was featured in an article by Jaime Palmer on Barn Finds and the galley of images are much like the one I've chosen: amazing, compact Fiat sedans covered in dust and forgotten.
It's especially heartbreaking for me, considering these tiny model "tin-box" sedans are some of my favorites, whether that means a Datsun 510 or a Fiat 131.
In this specific picture, we can see a line of both Fiat and Peugeot models, covered in a thick layer of dust, still parked in the all too familiar showroom style.
16 Burned Chevrolet Dealership
While it's rather obvious why this dealership was abandoned, there is a little bit more to this story past the soot and burn marks: once here stood a thriving, successful Chevrolet dealership.
Given the brickwork, I'd feel safe saying that this dealership probably wasn't new and could have likely served buyers during the "Booming 50s."
This means that classic styled, gas guzzling Chevrolets like the Impala rolled off the lot of this dealership. Of course this is just speculation and maybe this dealership was more active during the 70s and 80s, being stocked with models like the Malibu or the Citation.
15 Dusty Chrysler in an Abandoned Showroom
Still parked as show models for consumers driving down the street, these abandoned cars live a life of longing as they sit, staring out the windows of their abandoned dealership prison. I believe that the model in this picture is a 1980s era Chrysler Cordoba, given the styling of the tail lights and boxy architecture. The Cordoba, which was advertised as a Chryslers defiance against the compact car trend of the era, meant that the brand would continue to create their classic, full size sedans, while many other manufacturers were producing smaller, economy cars. Maybe Chrysler's reluctance to change was part of reason behind the closure of dealerships like this one.
14 Chevrolet, Pontiac, GMC
Under a sky of grey, this abandoned dealership advertises the US trio of car makes: Pontiac Chevrolet and GMC. The huge lot that sits adjacent to the building was probably used for an outdoor sales lot.
If you can imagine, rows of brand new cars lined the lot, glistening and attracting the passing by traffic.
Models probably included mid 2000 models, as I believe this dealership was affected by the 2008 automotive industry collapse during the 2008 recession. Mid 2000 Malibus, Impalas, Grand Ams and probably tons of GMC trucks were sold here, so it's a shame that this dealership wasn't able to stay afloat.
13 The Automotive Midwest
Chicago, and much else of the Midwest, has historically been a hub for automotive production, so, it's no surprise that some of these dealerships went under. This is exactly what appears in the picture here: an old Pontiac that sits abandoned at dealership in Chicago, Illinois. I'm not quite sure of the model: some research hinted at it being a Parisienne, but considering that was mainly a Canadian model, I don't think that's right. Whatever the case, it's clearly a full size 1970s era Chevy Caprice, probably equipped with a massive V8 engine, destined to sit, dormant inside the abandoned remains of this showroom.
12 McNamara Pontiac Trade-Ins
Used car dealers and dealerships that offer trade-ins are extremely common all around America, so this abandoned Pontiac trade in dealer is not an unusual sight. What is unique is the mural painted beneath the sign: a sight of paradise juxtaposed with the decaying sign of the business.
Considering the name, I assume that this dealership was probably owned by a local of the community, which makes this story especially heartbreaking, as small business owners are the backbone of small communities, especially in the Midwest.
I think a large possibility here is that this dealer went out of business due to the 2008 recession, which I mentioned in the introduction, because it left buyers without the financial stability to buy cars.
11 Abandoned Lada Dealership
This Lada dealership is located in Monaco, France and is still full of some amazing cars, leaving this to be a time capsule of European automotive history. The buildings are filled with a variety of Lada models, including tons from the 80s and 90s like the Samara and the 110. In the Motor1 article by Anthony Karr that featured this dealership, there is a gallery of pictures that show the rest of the abandoned cars, some parked in the showroom and others on the surrounding property. There are rows and rows of classic, compact Lada sedans, which are representative of a unique time period in European automotive history.
10 Valley Dodge, Connecticut, United States
Located in Wellsville, Connecticut, this Dodge dealership, known as Valley Dodge, sits, abandoned and deteriorating away. As compared to other dealerships, this one is rather small and inconspicuous, leading me to believe that it was built to support a rather small, tight-knit community.
Large bay doors on the side of the building conceal on-site shops for dealer mechanics, who support customers with car repairs that are usually covered by the dealership under lease.
It makes we wonder what this business looked like in its prime, with a constant flow of cars entering and leaving the lot. Truly a sad thought, considering the current state of Valley Dodge.
9 Swiss Dealership
Sitting somewhere in Switzerland, this dealership waits, abandoned since around 2001. The building is full of different vehicles, some of which are brand new and others that have seen better days. The included makes are Hondas, Mazdas and Saabs, most of which are 1980s models, all left to gather dust while looking out of their showroom jail cells. The particular model in the picture, a Mazda 323 GT, sits alone in rather pristine condition, which makes me sad. The 323 GT is an amazing car: a zippy compact trim based on the Mazda Familia, which was also known as the 323. Too bad this car might never see the roads.
8 Tagged Showroom
With a cascade of windows, this dealership is rather upper scale, featuring a huge showroom who's once transparent walls are now covered in graffiti. Possibly a result of the 2008 automotive industry collapse, this dealership was built to be extraordinary, considering the massive size and flashy, upper scale appearance.
In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if this was a luxury dealership, like Mercedes, BMW or Porsche.
It's unfortunate that I wasn't able to find a whole lot of information about this particular dealership, as I want to know more about it, but alas, it has been almost completely forgotten.
7 Subaru Time Capsule
As a Subaru fanatic, this dealership was especially heartbreaking for me to look at. While the models in the picture aren't exactly flashy, the video on Daily Mail captures a glance of some other cars in the building, including a Subaru XT, one amazing Subaru rarity. Launched in 1985, the XT, which was also known as the Alcyone, packs a powerful 97 horsepower, on a chassis about the same size as a Toyota MR2. Needless to say, the displacement and weight distribution for this car make it an absolute speed demon, which is really sad considering this particular model may never see a roadway.
6 Jack Neion Ford
Probably left from the last sale, the classic painted letters that many dealerships bare during a sale still remain on this old Ford dealership. If I made out the letter outlines correctly, I believe it says "Jack Neion Ford," probably a local owner.
What I think is especially interesting about this dealership is the shape of the building: it kind of looks like an old movie theater, much less a dealership.
Whatever the case, this building is now long abandoned and while it still shows signs of being a business, it is just another one of the forgotten dealerships around the world.
5 Ourisman Volkswagen
As opposed to the other pictures on this list, this dealership looks rather new and almost like it's still open for business. However, according to the blog this was posted on by photojournalist Robert Dyer, this Volkswagen dealership is abandoned. A Jetta and GTI sit at the front of the lot and behind them, an army of other models, waiting to be driven. I wonder why this Volkswagen dealer went out of business; could it be related to the Volkswagen emissions scandal? In case you're unfamiliar, I'm referring to the claims in 2015 that led to a lawsuit against Volkswagen for violating the Clean Air Act. Many Volkswagen models were recalled and I'm sure it wasn't easy on dealership owners, so that could be the reason behind this dealership's abandonment.
4 Put Under by Bad Service
Family of Auto Manchester is the name of this particular dealership, that has now been left to rot. According to the article on Web Urbanist, this dealership was not liked by its customers and even reported on a Google review comment that complained about poor service, unprofessionalism and disrespect to its customers, specifically females.
As far as reasons for the closure of this dealership goes, I think the proof is in the pudding: provide sub-par business and you will receive sub-par revenue, which can very easily put you out of business. So, comparatively to the other dealerships on this list, it doesn't make me quite as sad to see this particular one abandoned, considering it's history.
3 Swadlincote, United Kingdom
Swadlincote is a small city in the UK, home to this local dealership that has been long abandoned. The Abandoned Cars blog wrote an article on this dealership, complete with a gallery of pictures.
The makes and models in the showroom vary greatly and include Volkswagens, Ladas, Renaults, Rovers, Skodas, Volvos and of course, the Vauxhall Astra featured in the picture.
Pretty much all of the models are classic, consumer-grade European commuter sedans, that are commonly seen, well, in the UK and Europe of course. So it's a shame that these cars are locked away from the rest of the world, forever collecting rust.
2 Cherry Red Challenger
While I don't think the Challenger was part of this dealership's inventory and is most likely the photographer's car, it juxtaposes nicely against this abandoned dealership. According to the blog this dealership was posted on, this is the Ash Grove Dealership, but other than that there aren't really any other details to report about it. Cracked concrete, overgrown weeds, boarded windows and deteriorating paint all plague this once bustling dealership, a very saddening sight. From the picture, I can't quite tell the manufacturer brand of this dealership, but I would bet its probably domestic, meaning this is another abandoned dealership left to rot.
1 Completely Barren
While it might not be obvious at first glance, this nearly destroyed building and surrounding property is a dealership that most likely also serviced cars.
The secondary building in the back looks to me like a mechanics shop, while the primary building looks more like the showroom.
I will add: this looks like an incredibly rural dealership, probably servicing a rather remote city or group of cities, but unfortunately, there isn't much to be found out about this dealership in the way of origins. Devoid of vehicles, this abandoned dealership has been reduced to not much more than a decaying building, a sad sight indeed.
Sources: Motorpunk, Hiveminer, Abandoned Cars Blog, Car Scoops, Web Urbanist, Barn Finds, Robert Dyer, Daily Mail, Motor1, Jalopnik, Motorlands