Navigating Family Dynamics in Car Dealership Succession Planning

If you’re a car dealer, succession planning is an important topic. In this insightful video conversation moderated by Jason Stein, George Karolis from The Presidio Group and Champ Rawls share their insights on the tensions that can arise from integrating family into the business. Despite their significance, family dynamics and governance are often disregarded when creating growth and succession strategies for car dealers. This is a common issue in automotive dealerships, where businesses are often family-owned. Karolis points out that the high value of car dealerships can lead to emotionally charged environments, making it even more crucial to address communication issues and avoid putting them off. This can lead to tension and hinder good decision-making, which is why planning ahead is essential.

Navigating the Complexities of Ownership and Family Dynamics

“Every auto dealership is structured differently based on its ownership,” Rawls notes. He explains that if a dealership has a single owner, the succession planning process may be slightly more straightforward than those involving multiple owners or family members. The complexity of family dynamics can introduce additional tension, particularly regarding succession. Rawls emphasizes the importance of aiming to make the succession process less stressful for all involved. “Walking, guiding folks through that is a critical piece of the puzzle and paramount to that kind of model,” he emphasizes.

The Overlooked Factors that Determine the Fate of Auto Dealerships


When discussing commonly disregarded aspects of succession planning, Rawls underscores the significance of family dynamics and governance. “While many people tend to focus primarily on the financial numbers and structural aspects, they often overlook the crucial role of family dynamics and governance,” Rawls states. Emotions often come into play as auto dealerships increase in value, making effective communication essential. Rawls stresses the importance of addressing communication issues head-on, as avoiding them can lead to tension and hinder decision-making.

Rawls outlines two key strategic options for auto dealerships: building up the value of the business for a future sale or growing it into a successful family enterprise. His enthusiasm for participating in these processes and decisions is evident, highlighting his satisfaction with helping dealers navigate the complexities of succession planning and strategic growth.

Expert Insights on Strategic Planning and Family Dynamics in Auto Dealerships

Successful succession planning in the auto dealership industry necessitates evaluating capital, growth, and conducting strategic planning. Champ Rawls’ insights shed light on the importance of addressing family dynamics, governance, and effective communication within the context of auto dealerships. By aligning their current business state with future objectives, auto dealership owners can make informed decisions that drive long-term success.

We Can Help Your Solve Complex Family Business Issues

Are you struggling to navigate the complexities of ownership and family dynamics within your auto dealership? Succession planning can be particularly challenging, especially when multiple owners or family members are involved. Emotions, communication issues, and governance can add layers of tension, potentially hindering decision-making and future success.

At The Rawls Group, we understand the unique challenges facing auto dealerships. Our team provides expert guidance on succession planning, strategic growth, and navigating family dynamics. Whether you’re aiming to streamline the succession process, build the value of your business for future sale, or transition into a thriving family enterprise, we’re here to help.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you overcome obstacles and achieve your dealership’s long-term goals. Let’s work together to navigate the complexities and pave the way for a successful future.

For more insight:

Visit the “Strategic Considerations in Automotive Retail” discussion page or select one of the additional episodes of the series below:


  • The Presidio Group: an independent merchant banking firm focused on mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, and investments in the automotive retail and consumer mobility sectors.
  • Succession Readiness Survey:  A 7-minute investment in time will put you in an informed position of opportunities many business owners overlook, impacting business value, growth, and lifestyle, and ultimately achieving your vision.
  • Contact a Succession Planner: The Rawls Group can help you with insights and other resources and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business immediately.

Family Dynamics and Family Governance

Family and Business alignment is hard to find when business issues liven up family dynamics.

However; with proper process, governance policies, and mutual respect built over time, a Family Business can thrive through multiple generations. Click the following links for more drill-down resources on  Family Dynamics and Family Governance.

Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to stay informed on how to overcome related succession planning issues.

We can help you with insights, other resources, and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business right away.