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How the future of the automotive industry is changing

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – The future of car buying could be different with more local dealerships being bought up by bigger corporations.

Gary Duncan has worked in the automotive industry for decades and is now selling his Acura, Audi and BMW dealerships to a bigger company. He explained how the national trend is affecting dealerships in Roanoke.

“You’ll see the total number of owners drop from 18,000 to a lot less,” Duncan said.

Duncan explained that fewer owners would hold the keys to local dealerships.

“The big one is going to get bigger. The mom and the pops, there are scales to the economy,” Duncan said. “There’s a lot of buying and selling in and around Roanoke.”

Park Automotive Group will resume dealerships in mid-September. The new chief executive explained that the automotive industry is moving towards standardized transactions.

“With a lower supply, there’s just a lot less old-fashioned bargaining, big discounts, that sort of thing,” J Smith said. “They’re just not there right now.”

The national chip shortage, coupled with fewer independent owners, is driving more consumers to shop online.

“People like me at my age, we still like to tinker and bargain,” Duncan said. “But pretty much the novelty that people want, they want the fast Amazon experience. They want to know they made a good purchase and they want it fast.

Both Duncan and Smith agreed that the new route to the automotive sector will not cause market prices to rise in the Roanoke Valley.

“I don’t think you’re going to see that in medium to small markets like Roanoke,” Smith said. “I think you’ve seen it before in major metropolitan areas.”

The other Duncan dealerships will remain in the family business.