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Don’t dismiss warnings of retail upheaval


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How many times since 1897 — when Detroiter William Metzger opened the country’s first new-car showroom to sell Waverley electrics — has the future of auto retailing been called into question?

Far too many to count. So it’s understandable why some dealers can listen to doom-laden talk about the changing auto ecosystem and remain blase and incurious.

Hasn’t there always been a “retail revolution” of some kind brewing, and isn’t it usually a preview of things not to come?

Yet the revolution being advertised these days — often referred to as “the demise of automotive retailing as we know it” — is hard to tune out. Smart dealers are acting on their suspicions — not panicking, but preparing.

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