Depending on whom you talk to, this is a very good time to sell your automotive retail assets. Unless you talk to someone who can convince you that this is the ideal time to add to your portfolio.
And you are bound to hear someone who is convinced that now, considering all that's going on, is the time to simply hold what you have and stay the course.
I have had all three conversations over the past month or so, and all of the dealer principals involved are convinced that they have the right financial plan to prosper in these confusing times. There may well be a fourth scenario — or even more — that I haven't heard about.
Everyone seems to have the correct idea about the best course of action. I have listened to folks make each of these arguments, and they all are pretty convincing.
There are a lot of folks who are convinced that President Donald Trump — and particularly his plan for tariffs on Chinese manufacturers — is going to be devastating to the auto industry, particularly regarding imports into the U.S.
That is the concern for a large number of automotive retailers.
But they seem to be ignoring the equally strong impact that new technology will have on the car business. The emergence of autonomous vehicles as well as the adoption of electrification and changes in emission standards — both domestic and global — would seem to have as great or a greater impact than any trade deals that the president could cook up with the Chinese or any other trading partner.
They are all going to have huge impacts on the retail business and may well push things in opposite directions at the same time. That will make any logical discussion more difficult.
When you mix technology with politics, it would seem the best you can hope for is substantial confusion.
Maybe that is why so many folks in the car business have opted to stay the course, at least for the time being. In these confusing times, that may be the best plan.