Car Dealer Insider Jan 1, 2008
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Car Dealer Insider Jan 1, 2008

Find your footing in retail automotive's shifting buy-sell market

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Find your footing in retail automotive's shifting buy-sell market

Should I stay or should I go? Many dealers will be asking themselves that question in the New Year, contemplating an exit from an industry that is getting increasing difficult to remain profitable in. Some will find out that they are indeed better off selling than owning. But if staying in is tough, getting out could prove to be even tougher.

After a dozen years of a sellers market that kicked off in 1996, the tides are changing. We're shifting into a buyers market - and it won't be too long before we see dealership supply outstrip demand.

That's the message we get from Sheldon Sandler, founder of Bel Air Partners, LLC, a financial advisory firm that over the past decade has assisted automobile dealers in the purchase or sale of 125+ franchises whose total transaction value exceeds $1 billion.

"I think this is the tipping point," Sheldon, well-regarded for his Wall Street and automotive industry insights, tells_ Car Dealer Insider.

Don't panic yet

Fortunately, Sheldon doesn't expect gloom and doom for every seller.

"In the right locations, with adequate real estate, the thirst for top five brands (BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda and Lexus) remains very strong," Sheldon recently told dealer members of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers (NJ CAR). In fact, "we're seeing real high prices for very desirable deals," he tells _CDI.

Sheldon says he's also now seeing more interest for high line dealerships - particularly BMW, Mercedes and Lexus - beyond the Sunbelt, such... (249 of 995 words)

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