The shakeup at Ford Motor Co. -- with Mark Fields, 56, out and Jim Hackett, 62, in as CEO -- could erode buyer demand and dealership valuations on Ford brand stores, buy-sell advisers said Monday.
But not right away.
Ford's product lineup and demand from would-be store buyers remain robust enough that the news of changes to Ford management will have little immediate effect, they said.
"Ford dealers are nervous, of course, in our conversation with them. But the drop in [Ford's U.S.] market share is only 1 percent," said Moshe Stopnitzky, president of buy-sell advisory Performance Brokerage Services in Irvine, Calif. "Ford is strong. In the last couple of years, they have released at least a dozen new or refreshed models."
Ford brand dealers will reap benefits from those products for a "couple of years," helping support franchise valuations, Stopnitzky said.
"I have a couple of large groups who are in a desperate search for a Ford store now," Stopnitzky said. "CEOs come and go. It is my firm opinion it'll have no impact on valuation on the short term. In the long term, it's less predictable."
If Ford's corporate earnings continue to decline, dealership buy-sell activity will suffer, others said.