Bronx car dealers hit by credit crunch

HUNTS POINT - Over the past few weeks, local car and truck dealerships have been reporting a steep decline in sales because would-be customers are struggling to obtain financing amid the financial meltdown.

Jose Vasquez, manager of Hunts Point Auto Sales, says the business has taken a downturn since banks are more reluctant to offer money these days.

"The credits are not good, the scores are not high enough for these people," he says.

Jonas Saris, of Elias Auto Shop, says his sales also have taken a hit due to the credit crunch.

"At the end of the day, we depend upon lenders to have the funding available for the customers," Saris says.

Saris puts the blame on Wall Street bankers for the current financial crisis on Main Street.

"I think they made mistakes themselves," he says. "And now they're putting the hardship on communities."

Dealers and drivers are hoping the $700 billion bailout package that was approved by the Senate and House of Representatives this past week will improve the situation in the near future.

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