Where have all the cars gone?

Where have all the cars gone? »Play Video
BURIEN, Wash. -- Burien Nissan currently has nothing to sell.

Some 100 new cars and trucks were seized from its lots just days ago and placed on semi trucks that moved in with lightning speed.

For a dealership that recently underwent a $5 million renovation, the emptiness is a stunning sight, and both customers and nearby residents are confused about what's going on.

"I was just surprised to see there weren't any cars on the lot," said resident Steve Roe. "This is where I got my car serviced. I actually paid the car off here last year."

The Burien dealership is part of Rainier Automotive Group. Its Web site makes no mention of any problems, but vehicles have also been confiscated from the company's other locations.

At Auburn Nissan, a sales agent says the shop is still in business. But you'll have a tough time finding anything to buy. The inventory at Eastside Subaru in Kirkland has also vanished.

The problem is apparently crumbling financing in this free-fall economy, and the dealerships squabbling with the auto companies about how things should be done.

Since Nissan, Subaru and most other auto manufacturer own all the cars that are for sale at dealerships, they can yank them off a dealer's lot when they want to. If new financing gets worked out, the cars come back.

KOMO News tried to contact Nissan officials about why this was happening, but we have not received a response.

As of Tuesday evening, the only sign of life at the dealerships were the service and parts departments.

"I noticed the signs on the service bays says 'We're open,' but from what I see, the lot sure doesn't reflect that at all," Roe said.