This article is included in Part 4 of “Redesigning the Industry,” a 5-part Automotive News series exploring the future of a business in the throes of change. Part 4 focuses on the turns auto retailing might take in the age of mobility. Part 5 will appear in our Dec. 4 issue and focus on what the industry’s power structure might look like by 2030.
The year is 2030, and the 10,000-square-foot showrooms of the past are relics. So are many of the staffers who once worked in those showrooms. Those who remain need new skills to mirror the new realities of automotive retailing.
Now, a few models of autonomous vehicles sit in the center of a tidy, tasteful and tiny showroom, available for purchase or subscription ride-hailing services. The vehicles are framed by just four desks where the transportation consultants — formerly called salespeople — work.
A service center sits to the side of the showroom. At some dealerships, service and parts are at another site entirely, as is the acreage where hundreds of vehicles in the dealership's fleets, as well as the drones that many dealerships now service, sit.
"The car salesman, unfortunately, goes away. The whole stigma of the car salesman is gone" as well, predicted one car dealer. "There will be a minimal need for sales managers. Service managers and technicians will still be needed, but on a limited basis because the battery life on the electric cars will keep getting better and the service intervals will be less. F&I? I see that department completely going away."