The Presidio Group’s Jim Press and Brodie Cobb discuss today’s automotive landscape

The young people to me are going to be the solution of the future says, Jim Press.

Throughout the past year, we’ve seen The Presidio Group facilitate a number of large industry transactions. Their latest acquisition isn’t a company, but rather, a familiar face. After spending over 37 years with Toyota followed by executive roles with Chrysler, Cerberus Capital, and Renault/Nissan, Jim Press has now been named Strategic Advisor for The Presidio Group.

Press, along with The Presidio Group’s CEO and Founder, Brodie Cobb, join us now to discuss Press’s new role and today’s automotive landscape.

Dealers are known for one thing and that’s adapting to change and taking advantage of whatever the situation is says Press. The demand for vehicles is high and the economy is good. The lack of inventory supports better grosses and better sales. Press says this isn’t going to last forever and dealers need to start preparing for the future.

Customers continue to take more of a primary position in the model. The use of a digital dealership process has been accelerated through this and made better transaction opportunities, including F&I. Press says it’s a change in the way we are doing business.

The profitability of the dealerships today is very high, record levels say Cobb. There is interest in the marketplace to understand what’s on the other side of this and what that means for the dealer and their profitability, sustainability, and valuation. He says, when you’re making this kind of money, it’s hard to let it go. Earnings are normalizing says, Cobb.

Press says, dealers have always been his path to success. He says in this new position he wants to give back and help dealers through this transformative period. A lot of dealers are trying to see what their options are. Press believes he could help support The Presidio Group as an investment bank to have dealer opportunities where they can find the solution for each of them.

Press says, if you’re a stand-alone store, your days are not numbered in this industry. It depends on the competition, the size of the market, and the vitality of the market. The individual dealer is the connection to the community. He says dealers will adapt and move where the consumers are. Cobb continues saying dealers are good at taking care of customers. He also says the larger the group, the more capital they have. The size does give you advantages today and tomorrow.

Covid forced a lot of dealers to realize, online car shopping is the future. Press says he is not so sure, they won over customers in every aspect. Cobb says there are different ways to market and sell that will be done around a dealership environment. Press echoes Cobb’s thoughts and says he’s been impressed with the next generation. A lot of dealers have been their own successors. The young people to me are going to be the solution of the future says, Press.

Related: Digital retailing inspired by the next generation

Cobb says you should have a succession plan, that is at least a decade long. If you don’t have a plan for a decade, it’s time to get out of the business.

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