For most industries, 2023 will sit heavier than a holiday meal. It will be a time to digest inflation, higher interest rates, supply chain woes, economic nationalism, war in Ukraine and a potential recession. For the auto industry, however, this year will be more like a triple espresso shot on an empty stomach: bitter for dealerships, energizing for automakers and anxiety-raising for electric vehicle adoption.
Three related issues are coming to a head. Automakers and dealerships, increasingly distrustful partners, are clashing over the future of direct sales. The unbundling of vehicle options into monthly subscriptions, potentially a massive source of revenue, could strain that partnership further. Meanwhile, a shortage of charging infrastructure for EVs — a significant barrier to adoption — could force automakers and dealerships to the negotiating table. Let's consider how all this could play out in 2023, the opportunities for mergers and acquisitions that may follow, and the implications for how marketing dollars flow through the automotive sector.