Dealers looking out on the horizon see many bumps and uncertainties ahead for the franchise system. The bigger the automotive retailer, the smaller those bumps may be. But the challenges -- ranging from car sharing to online selling -- will be faced by all.
The list of concerns is long. Certain scenarios have some dealers worrying about permanent damage to the franchise model. For instance, will the battles over Tesla's push to sell its cars in factory stores lead to weaker franchise laws and other automakers attempting direct sales? Will car-sharing technology and self-driving cars converge to weaken consumer demand to own vehicles?
Other pressure points, near- and long-term, include:
- Automaker sales programs and dictates for facility investment
- Dealership consolidation and the struggle for smaller groups to keep up
- Regulatory crackdowns on lending and advertising practices
- Slimmer vehicle margins as Internet competition drives down prices
- Difficulties in hiring and retaining dealership staff.