As dealers confront pressures they didn't face a few years ago, such as declining new-vehicle sales and shrinking profits, they may struggle to master the balance between compliance objectives and profit goals.
Some fear that, as dealership profits continue to narrow, dealers' attention may turn away from compliance as they put more emphasis on reducing costs and creating new profit centers.
After the Great Recession, many floor plan lenders tightened dealers' loan agreements, which has helped detect early signs of trouble but also raises the bar for dealers. Several prominent auto lenders have sued dealers over the last 18 months for selling vehicles out of trust.
Group 1's AcceleRide allows visitors to browse new and used inventory, customize features, select financing and payment terms and coordinate delivery to their home, office or local dealership.
A Renault-FCA tie-up doesn't necessarily mean that Renault's RCI Financial Services will replace Santander.
Public ownership of big dealership groups helped transform an industry made up mostly of self-funded small businesses into one flush with cash from big banks and private-equity firms.
Ford Credit last month started pilot programs that provide personal lease assistants and personalized online vehicle offers to improve the lease-end experience for customers.
AutoNation's strategy to lift new-vehicle margins has worked and will play out beyond the first quarter. But its decline in new-vehicle sales was much sharper than the industry's.
Dealers leaned on factory incentives more than ever to turn a profit last year, and for the first time in at least a decade, they lost money on operations, according to a report by the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Ed Napleton, the dealer who sued Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2016 alleging dealers were paid to inflate sales numbers, will keep all seven of his FCA dealerships.