It is amazing how many retail automobile dealers are available and how many dealerships are empty across the country.
While there were far too many outlets for certain manufacturers, what was a liability for one company will become an opportunity for the next.
We may think that every brand in the world is sold in the United States, but many brands aren't represented here.
Plenty of manufacturers in China, for example, are planning to come here. It's just a matter of time.
When they come, they will find many dealers happy to add another manufacturer to the list of those they represent.
There are many empty dealerships in just about every state, and there are many dealers looking for new franchises. There will be opportunities for car dealers willing to represent new brands from China and India or even a European brand not yet represented here.
In the next few years, the number of franchises and showrooms will grow again as new companies look for distribution. Plenty of entrepreneurs are willing to take a risk with a new brand, and plenty of brands would love to have a few hundred American auto dealers selling their products here.
After World War II, there were several American manufacturers and nearly 50,000 car dealers in the United States -- thousands of whom sold far fewer vehicles than the average dealership sells today.
Over the years, brands disappeared and the number of dealerships declined drastically, yet the number of franchises and sales grew right along with the population.
Car sales will recover. They will catch up with some old sales records, even though the mix of brands and models will be different.
During the current recession, we have seen brands disappear or re-emerge under different ownership. After the elimination of Mercury, we have probably seen the last death of a brand for a while.
But it won't be long before the growth of new models and companies begins. Whether the public embraces the new brands will depend on quality, price and design.
Now we can just wait and see.