This article will be included in the fourth part of "Redesigning the Industry," an Automotive News series exploring the future of a business in the throes of change. Part IV will appear in our Nov. 27 issue and focus on auto retailing.
Dealer Darryl Holter considers himself a "nostalgic historian." It's why he kept Felix Chevrolet, one of the oldest dealerships in Los Angeles, when he sold his five other Downtown Los Angeles Auto Group stores to Lithia Motors Inc. in August.
Yet Holter also envisions a future in which auto retailing is dominated by larger dealership groups. That's one of the reasons he sold the other stores.
"The price of cars, what we sell them for, has changed," said Holter. "More electric cars will negatively impact service and parts and autonomous cars could lead to subscription services and that will have an impact. It could transform our industry into basically being a delivery center for the manufacturer. Those things haven't happened yet, but it's out there."
Holter, 70, is not alone in his concerns. In recent months, buy-sell advisers say, the number of sellers coming to market has escalated, largely because of auto retailing's uncertain future.