Roger Penske, the man behind Penske Racing, winner of 16 Indianapolis 500s and 15 IndyCar championships, sat on a panel of automotive executives and current and former race car drivers at the presentation of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series race car.
While the auto industry faces numerous disruptions from autonomous vehicles to electric powertrains to new retail models, Penske expects the industry to stay in the driver’s seat “a long time.”
“Innovation, technology, certainly autonomous driving, all these things are going to play a role as we go forward, but we still want to sit in that car and drive it,” Penske said.
Penske, CEO of Penske Automotive Group, the country's second-biggest new-car dealership group, also challenged former GM executive Bob Lutz’s charge that automotive retail will be obsolete in the next 10 to 15 years, citing the continued success of Penske Automotive Group.
“I’m fully invested in the retail automobile business, so I’m expecting it to be around for a long time,” Penske said. “Our company sold over 500,000 new and used cars. That’s going to be a hard one to beat this year.”
Penske is committed to racing just as much as the retail side of the business.
“The fact that we can use racing as a common thread through our business because it helps us promote our products,” Penske said. “We have business-to-business contacts that come to us through the racing program, so it's an integral part of our business.”