If only today's battles were all that needed to be fought. If you've been listening to General Motors CEO Mary Barra and countless others, the auto world is going to look a heck of a lot different a decade from now.
So instead of getting steamrolled by change, why not embrace it?
Much is being made about subscription services that allow consumers to swap cars depending on their whims or day-to-day needs. Flow says dealers can be part of that.
They already manage service loaner fleets. With some imagination, they just might find a way to generate revenue from a transportation service model.
Why bother? Just consider the foundations of automotive retailing that Flow has seen crumble over the years.
In the past, dealers were the leading source of information about cars. And they capitalized on that advantage.
They shrouded their showrooms in secrecy until new models made their official debut. They distributed boxfuls of brochures — the only information consumers could get their hands on.
That's all on the Internet now. So what's the role of the dealership?
Consumers "want us to do all the work for them," Flow says. "They just want to drive and enjoy their vehicles."
The key will be figuring out today's equivalent of those draped showrooms at the start of every model year. That's something only the dealership can provide.
"How do we engage our customers in such a way that we take care of their cars and take care of their transportation?" Flow asks.
"That means we must make a radical commitment to customer retention. If we do this, we have a chance to recapture margin."