Investment banker Sheldon Sandler, of Skillman, N.J., says all dealerships took a hit in the downturn -- mostly due to steep declines in property values. "The pecking order remains intact, though," says Sandler.
What's changed: Buyers won't pay $100 million for a Lexus store, as they did a few years ago. Nor are they willing to commit to pricy store upgrades, says Phil Vogel, an industry consultant in San Francisco.
Vogel says Toyota's still demanding larger dealerships and more service bays, but buyers are negotiating harder to keep their fixed costs down.