Bankrupt? Why not finance a car?

The other night, I was driving home from Longmont after visiting a friend when I happened to see the giant illuminated sign out front of O'Meara Ford -- not that it's possible for anyone with functioning corneas to miss it. Mostly, the messages pertained to particular models and prices -- but one asked, "BANKRUPTCY?," followed by the words "NEW PROGRAM." In other words, O'Meara wanted commuters to know that a Chapter 11 might not prevent them from financing a fine ride.

This approach is nothing new: Dealerships have long attempted to romance folks with "Good Credit, Bad Credit, No Credit," as this page on the O'Meara site stresses. But such offers still startle when viewed in the context of today's fiscal realities. Unless I've misunderstood all the business stories I've read in recent months (which is certainly possible), a major factor that fueled the current economic crisis was people buying homes they simply couldn't afford, which forced banks to pick up the abandoned abodes when they defaulted on their loans -- and while O'Meara peddles cars, not houses, the concept's the same.

Yes, dealers like O'Meara need the business, and here's hoping that it picks up for them. But if you're bankrupt, should a new set of wheels really be your first priority?

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