Ford Motor Co.'s plan in Indianapolis escalates the automotive retail revolution, which poses a major challenge to the traditional dealership owned by a person or a family.
That revolution began in the early 1990s with Saturn Corp.'s market-area approach, in which one dealer operates all Saturn dealerships in a wide territory.
Saturn avoids price haggling, in part because the Saturn dealer does not compete with other Saturn dealers selling the same product in the same area.
With its first used-car superstore in 1993 in Richmond, Va., CarMax took the process a step further.
CarMax used the theories of mass retailers to let consumers shop in one place for most major brands.
CarMax sells reconditioned, low-mileage cars with warranties, exchange policies and no-dicker stickers. CarMax subsequently acquired two Chrysler-Plymouth and Jeep-Eagle new-car franchises.
Republic Industries Inc. and its AutoNation USA unit took the next aggressive step: provide for every automotive need, whether new or used cars, parts and service, rental, roadside assistance or aftermarket accessories.
Republic first proposed a series of used-car megastores.
But since December, Republic has bought up new-car dealerships at a stunning rate, becoming the largest dealer group in the United States in just two months.
Republic's billionaire chairman, H. Wayne Huizenga, already consolidated two other industries at Blockbuster Entertainment and Waste Management Inc.
Ford, General Motors and Chrysler Corp. have embraced or accepted Republic's strategy. Their dealer networks were built when the Big 3 collectively held a much larger share of the market in the United States.
The Big 3 generally see Republic as an outside force that can help them consolidate dealership locations.
By contrast, American Honda Motor Co. Inc. and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. have filed legal actions to stop Republic from gobbling up their franchises.
With its action in Indianapolis, Ford could go Republic one better in its plan to dominate major markets.
Ford would also include Saturnlike aspects such as no-dicker stickers and a large market area.