Phil Brady, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, remembers ominous headlines of a few years ago.

Such as: “Doom Looms for Traditional Dealers” and “Has the Franchise System Outlived Its Usefulness in the Internet Era?”

Then he cites a more recent one: “Franchise System Alive and Well.”

What he gets out of that contrast is that dealers do a good job of dealing with adversity and changing with the times.

“Dealers make the necessary changes and adjustments to compete in a fast-moving, brutally competitive industry,” says Brady.

Among those changes is how extensively dealers now use the Internet beyond just posting inventory on line.

Says Brady, “Dealers do get the Internet, they're increasingly using it and using it to do more things, such as filling out finance forms, scheduling service appointments and even ordering on line.”

He sees dealerships becoming more professional. Expect sales personnel soon to be certified like service technicians are now.

Brady also foresees greater diversity among dealers and their staff. “The country is becoming more diverse, and dealerships should reflect that,” he says.