Steven Lang:

Car dealerships.

Auto parts stores.

Repair shops.

Tire centers.

How many of these places will be needed 10 years from now?

Car dealerships have a triple whammy coming straight at their bottom line.

An adversary in the form of Tesla, who has the monetary means to fight a legal war with the strong support of the general public.

A move toward car-sharing services at all levels of society. Right now this is at its early stages. However, in the long run, these services will continue to drive down the value proposition of buying and maintaining a new car.

Finally, the times are a-changin’. It’s no secret that young consumers in particular would strongly prefer to buy a new vehicle online instead of going through the four-square game and the interminable waits at a new car dealership.

If an automaker can legally offer direct sales and convenient test drive facilities without the traditional hassles of buying a car, they would likely get a big chunk of this market. Tesla is now the sole pursuer of this sales channel. But, if they manage to break through the litigious minefield, a lot of overseas manufacturers may decide that direct sales to the American public offers a far better business model than the dealer as an intermediary. If that happens, you will start to see some of the smaller manufacturers band together and offer direct sales channels in parts of the country where a stand-alone dealership doesn’t make sense.

Related: Asymcar 13: Pilgrimages and Fundamental Evil.