Automobile dealerships across Florida were closed most of Friday as Hurricane Charley threatened the state with 145-mph winds and heavy rains.
General Motors closed the World of Motion display at Walt Disney World in Orlando early Friday. Several Ford Motor Co. credit offices throughout the state also closed.
DaimlerChrysler closed a parts depot in Orlando early Friday and sent employees home. The company also closed numerous credit offices around the state.
At Holiday Chevrolet Oldsmobile in St. Cloud, outside Orlando, the dealership moved its Corvettes inside, and had technicians complete as many repair jobs as possible before closing at about 2:30 p.m., owner Alan Starling said.
Starling, a former National Automobile Dealers Association president, said he believed the storm posed a danger to some parts of the state but that local TV reports were exaggerating the potential damage the storm could cause.
Im sure there are some real emergency situations in some parts of the state, Starling said. But Florida is a big state. Its not that big a deal really in some parts.
Starling, who owns dealerships in central Florida, said he convened a meeting early Friday with his management team and employees and came up with a plan to deal with the storm.
Starling said he planned to be open Saturday.
Its frustrating to me. We want to come in and sell cars, he said.
Hurricane Charley was scheduled to come ashore from the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa late Friday and was projected to cut through the center of the state.