Nearly two decades ago, trash-hauling entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga saw an opportunity in cars and created the new-car giant we know today as AutoNation.
Success wasn't automatic. Huizenga's Republic Industries started out as a used-car retailer. But his entry helped spur the creation of six publicly traded groups that are leaders in new-car retailing today.
Now another big-name outsider is causing waves: Warren Buffett. In last week's blockbuster deal, Buffett said he would buy Van Tuyl Group -- the fifth-largest dealership group based in the U.S. and the largest private one -- and create Berkshire Hathaway Automotive.
Buffett is not new to autos. His Berkshire Hathaway holdings include 9.9 percent of Chinese automaker BYD and 2 percent of General Motors. He owns a 2014 Cadillac XTS in part because he has been "enormously impressed" with GM CEO Mary Barra, whom he has praised as a "real car guy."
Buffett's investment is an endorsement of auto retailing and its prospects. And his statement that he's already looking to buy more dealerships will pour fuel on an already blazing buy-sell market.
Barra herself said last week that the auto industry will see more change in the next 10 years than it has in the past 50. Now that the Oracle of Omaha has gone deep into autos, those on the retail side of the business should brace themselves for disruption on a similar scale.