Frequent NADA consultant Glenn Mercer has a fairly optimistic view of the next eight years for dealers.
"On a scale of zero to 10, if zero is Armageddon and 10 is nothing changes and everything's fine, I'm probably more at the seven range, and pessimists are probably more at the three to four range," Mercer said. "The system stays mostly intact."
NADA hired Mercer last March to study the future of auto retailing and predict the state of dealerships in 2025. The exercise is an effort to stimulate long-term thinking and planning among dealers, said Mercer, a former McKinsey & Co. partner who previously studied automaker facility programs for NADA. He presented key findings of his study in November at a conference before the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Mercer largely concludes that dealerships will evolve but will remain the predominant way to sell vehicles. Still, the single biggest risk to franchised dealerships in the next eight years is a potential change in vehicle ownership patterns as self-driving vehicles and mobility services converge, he said.