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Dude, where did all the dealerships go?

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  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    "Sixty-six auto dealerships opened in the first three months of the year, and the number of people employed in that part of the automotive industry is up, too.

    The uptick comes amid growing auto sales. Last year, U.S. auto sales rose 10.2 percent and sales are up 10 percent through May.

    In May, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the nation's new and used car dealers added 2,400 jobs to 1.08 million. May's total payroll was 30,000 greater than in May 2011."

    More jobs, stores for auto dealers (Detroit News)
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    "Underriner also attacked stair-step incentive programs, which reward dealers for meeting sales goals. That can create some unfair advantages to dealers who are closer to meeting a quota, Underriner said. Those dealers can significantly beat a price that another dealer cannot because they know they can make up the cost with incentives. Competitive dealers, meanwhile, that are not close to the quota, cannot offer the same consumer-friendly deals."

    Automobile dealers chairman says stair-step incentive program unfair (Detroit News)
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    "When electric-car company Tesla Motors Inc. started selling its flagship Model S luxury hatchback earlier this year, it eschewed the traditional dealership network to open its own stores.

    But that's not sitting well with U.S. auto dealers, who have controlled new-vehicle sales for nearly a century.

    Over time, car dealerships became crucial sources of employment and tax revenue for local communities. To prevent manufacturers from opening their own stores and undercutting neighborhood dealers, states developed laws governing the franchise relationship. Bottom line: Carmakers had to leave their retail sales to someone else.

    Tesla isn't buying it. The company wants to sell directly to consumers. That way it gets to keep the profit that dealers make on new-car sales. It's also the only way an electric car will get a fair shake, co-founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said."

    Electric-car maker Tesla bucks traditional dealership network (LA Times)
  • carthellcarthell Posts: 124
    Yay for Mr. Musk! Drivers (no pun intended) of change never get any respect initially. I hope that Tesla survives this trial-by-fire. (The car dealer associations sure picked an underhanded way to extract a profit from someone else's efforts struggle through the current economic downturn.)
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    "A new online service enables car shoppers to test drive vehicles without going to a dealership.

    Tred, a Seattle startup with ties to former GM CEO Rick Wagoner, cuts dealership trips by delivering new vehicles for consumers to test drive and possibly purchase.

    Tred drivers, not salespeople, deliver the vehicles wherever the shopper wants. The service ensures that dealerships can keep salesmen on the floor at all times, the company said."

    Seattle startup tied to Wagoner delivers cars for test drives (Automotive News)
  • carthellcarthell Posts: 124
    Rick's been doing a few things since his ouster from GM, a Google search shows. Mainly, sitting on boards of other corporations and at least one university it appears.

    If it were me, I would not mind Mr. Wagoner's counsel in the new business. You don't work for one of the largest companies in the world for 30 years, even a declining one, without picking up some skills and knowledge that can be taken, rebuilt, and applied in a new way.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    "The number of car dealerships in the U.S. remained stable in 2012, but the volume per store set a record, according to data released Thursday by Urban Science, a Detroit-based retail consulting firm.

    There were 17,851 dealerships in the U.S. in 2012, up 0.5% from the previous year’s 17,767. The industry lost some Saab and Suzuki dealers, but that was offset by stronger overall sales, said vice president John Frith.

    Most dealers who survived the downturn in 2009 are thriving."

    U.S. car dealerships post record sales in 2012 (Detroit News)
  • otis12otis12 Posts: 160
    I know Ford wanted to shrink the # of Lincoln dealers and here in North Jersey, we've lost about half of the dealerships thru closures and at least one merger. I'm also seeing some odd combinations of brands under one owner/location. A Ford dealer added Kia a few years ago and about one year ago, added Infinity. So you got those three brands in one location, tho each has its own showroom. Just kinda odd to see Kia/Infiniti/Ford models side by side in one large lot.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    That is a bit odd. I'm used to seeing "second tier" brands together, but Ford and anyone other than Lincoln (or Mercury, back in the day) is odd.

    The strange one up in this area (although it's over in N. Wisconsin), is a joint Toyota/Honda dealer.
  • otis12otis12 Posts: 160
    Toyota/Honda? That is very odd, though it must make cross-shopping easier for consumers looking at an Accord vs. Camry or Civic vs. Corolla.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    Yeah, here's their website. Can't imagine there's too many other dealers around with that combo.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    A petition on WhiteHouse.gov urges the Obama Administration to “overturn franchise laws that limit auto manufacturers from selling their vehicles directly to consumers.”

    Will Tesla seek federal help to end its war with state car dealers? (venturebeat.com)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,459
    A local group has Honda, Nissan and Toyota together. Each brand has it's own showroom.
  • carthellcarthell Posts: 124
    I was intrigued enough to add my name to the petition, although I'm not sure how far it would go if lots of people e-signed the petition. At the minimum, it may take a regulation issued by the FTC to enact such a thing. That's assuming the "Party of No" (GOP) doesn't sue or enact counter-legislation against it, bolstered by various private party and general attorney lawsuits. :sick:
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    Well, the car dealer lobby is pretty strong and that means they spread the political dollars around to all the politicians. Especially on the state and local level. I think it's more than a red/blue issue.

    I suspect the manufacturers will lie low on this one, while the dealer lobby will say they're protecting innocent consumers from rip-off artists, aka curbstoners.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    "If Tesla is successful in establishing its own retail network, it could open the door for other new companies, such as Chinese auto makers, to set up direct sales networks, legal experts say. Dealers worry that existing car companies might try to create new subsidiaries to sell vehicles directly to consumers—a tactic General Motors Co. GM and Ford Motor Co. flirted with during the late 1990s before retreating in the face of a dealer backlash.

    Dealers have "an essential monopoly on their business and they want to maintain it," said Diarmuid O'Connell, Tesla's chief of business development. Car dealers and alcohol distributors, he said, are the rare businesses still vigorously fighting disruption by the Internet."

    Tesla Clashes With Car Dealers (Wall St. Journal)
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    "Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that an "anonymous Tesla enthusiast" started a petition to put before President Obama. The petition has passed the required 100,000-signature threshold to merit a response from the White House."

    Would You Sign the Petition?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    I may as well go buy a car where I don't have to talk to anyone.

    Now You Can Buy A Car From A Vending Machine (businessinsider.com)

    In other news, Craigslist is going to start charging dealers $5 an ad to post a car ad. Should cut down on the spam and dupes a bit at least.
  • The petition is a waste of time, because the franchise laws are state-regulated, so sending petitions to the White House is going nowhere, and states are not going to undermine the good 'ol boy network.

    They might allow a factory store or two.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    The latest in Ohio:

    "The Ohio Dealers Association is backing an amendment to Ohio Senate Bill 137--an unrelated bill that requires Ohio drivers to move left so as to leave an empty lane between themselves and highway maintenance vehicles at the side of the road.

    Attaching the anti-Tesla amendment to an uncontroversial bill already moving toward adoption could see it become law more quickly than on its own.

    The proposed amendment would ban Tesla's practice of selling its electric cars directly to customers, who place their orders online with the company after seeing and learning about the Model S in company-owned stores."

    Tesla Faces Off Against Car Dealers In Another State: Ohio (greencarreports.com)
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