To the Editor:
I love car dealers. They are the cowboys of the 21st century. They operate a multifaceted business that must cater to manufacturers, customers, employees and governments. All that bureaucracy -- and yet they still have to make a profit.
Where else can you own a financial empire and still put your name on the front of the building (not CVS or 7-Eleven)?
In the past 15 years or so, dealers have become aware of the fixed operations portion of their pie and are focusing on building customer service. Just as they are getting used to profits from the service end, a new business model is developing.
Improved vehicle quality is forcing dealers to focus on maintenance. Manufacturers are compelled to produce electric vehicles because of coming corporate average fuel economy requirements.
Those vehicles have very little service associated with them. They are more like appliances than cars. How often do we get our refrigerators serviced?
Where will service business come from? With little profit in new-car sales and the possibility of a reduced service and parts business, will the current dealer model survive? Should dealers seek a new way to sell and service America's transportation units?
EVs are coming from everybody. The motorcycle industry is feeling this kind of change with scooters being sold at Pep Boys and Costco. Should a dealership be required in order to sell EVs?
We don't train blacksmiths for a reason.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
The writer also worked for Mitsubishi and Kia.