How do you think electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle technology will affect the franchised auto retail business?
JP Garvey, director, Garvey Auto Group (Volkswagen-Kia-Nissan-Hyundai-Genesis), Queensbury, N.Y.: "Obviously, EVs are more reliable. But there's more equipment on the vehicle to break, even though your method of propulsion is bulletproof. With self-driving technology, that requires an immense number of senors, cameras, all sorts of things that go into that system. There's still service needs for those vehicles; they're just different needs."
Lance Iserman, CEO, Morrie's Automotive Group, Minnetonka, Minn.: "My view on electric: It's coming, it's here, it's going to continue to grow. In terms of the impact on our fixed operations, I think you won't see that for quite some time. So we have a fairly long runway where we'll be servicing traditional vehicles. Also, the complexity of electric vehicles is such that they will have to come to the dealer and not some aftermarket facility."
Bob Whitman, service director, Marino Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram, Chicago: "It is something that concerns me in service down the line, where you're not going to get the customers coming in. It's going to change the way we do business, and it definitely makes you think of how you're going to prepare for that."
Paul MacDonald, IT director, Bountiful Mazda in Utah: "Within a five- to eight-year period, we're going to go through a metamorphosis of the franchise dealership system. The first phase of it will be the EV. A good percentage of profit comes from service in franchised dealers. Then later on top of it, you're going to have autonomous vehicles, and what we're talking about is a change in transportation."
Ryan Gremore, president, O'Brien Auto Team, Normal, Ill.: "Until they come out with a true fully autonomous car, I don't know. Because you still have the bulk of the American people who want to drive their own car. I think having some level of autonomy is neat. I drive a car that has a level of autonomy and stays in the lane and does have automatic braking. But I don't want to get in a car that takes me where I want to go. I enjoy driving."