In the dynamic world of automotive dealerships, one constant remains, which is change. Whether you’re a seasoned dealership owner or a key player in the automotive industry, understanding the pivotal events that trigger valuations is essential for informed decision-making and the continued success of your family business. In this video, we delve into the six overarching categories of events that can initiate valuations within the context of car dealerships. From wealth transfer and buy-sell agreements to strategic planning, litigation, dealership sales, and the passing of a shareholder, we’ll provide valuable insights to help you navigate these critical moments.

Wealth Transfer

One of the most significant events that can trigger a valuation in a family-owned car dealership is wealth transfer. As owners look to pass on their business to the next generation, it becomes crucial to establish a fair and equitable value. This valuation serves as a protective shield, safeguarding the integrity of transactions associated with the transfer process. By ensuring that the interests of all involved parties are preserved, a well-documented valuation facilitates the attainment of their objectives and secures the dealership’s future.

Buy-Sell Agreements

Buy-sell agreements are standard in family-owned dealerships and often require a valuation under specific circumstances, such as a partner’s exit or considering new ownership prospects. Understanding the valuation procedures in these scenarios is pivotal for a seamless transition and the preservation of the financial health of the dealership. By knowing the value of the business, stakeholders can engage in negotiations confidently, ensuring a fair deal for all parties involved.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is an essential facet of dealership management, and it can also trigger valuations. Assessing the current value of the dealership allows owners and stakeholders to gain valuable insights into their position within the market. Armed with this knowledge, they can develop effective growth, expansion, or diversification strategies, ultimately maintaining a competitive edge in the industry.


Legal disputes within the automotive industry often necessitate valuations to determine fair market value, evaluate damages, or resolve disputes related to ownership interests. Valuations play a pivotal role in these cases, contributing to equitable resolutions. Understanding the role of valuations in litigation is crucial for dealership owners and industry professionals.

Dealership Sale

The sale of a dealership is a significant event that requires a valuation to ascertain the business’s fair market value. Prospective buyers and sellers must clearly understand the valuation process and the factors influencing value. This knowledge empowers sellers to position themselves for a successful sale while buyers can make well-informed investment decisions. Valuations are the foundation of successful transactions in the automotive industry.

Shareholder Passing

In the unfortunate event of a shareholder’s passing, a valuation becomes imperative to determine the fair value of the deceased shareholder’s interest. This valuation is essential for facilitating the transfer of ownership and ensuring an equitable distribution of assets among surviving shareholders or beneficiaries. It provides clarity and fairness during a challenging time.

In conclusion, a firm grasp of valuations is indispensable for car dealers and industry professionals. Whether you are pondering wealth transfer, navigating buy-sell agreements, engaging in strategic planning, confronting litigation, considering a sale, or addressing the loss of a shareholder, understanding the triggers for valuations is vital for making astute decisions and securing the financial well-being of your dealership. The knowledge gained from these valuations empowers you to navigate these pivotal events successfully, ensuring your family business’s continued success and prosperity in the ever-evolving automotive industry. Join us in unraveling the intricacies of valuations and empower yourself with the knowledge needed to thrive in this dynamic sector.

This conversation is a part of the discussion focused on Valuations and Succession Planning for Car Dealers with Scott Womack, Senior Vice President with Mercer Capital, and Dan Iosue, a Succession Planner with The Rawls Group.

For more insight:

Visit the “Valuations and Succession Planning for Car Dealers” discussion page or select one of the additional episodes of the series below:


  • Mercer Capital: Mercer Capital is an employee-owned business valuation and financial advisory firm founded in 1982, serving a diverse and international client base. For more information on Mercer Capital’s valuation services, contact Scott Womack.
  • 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 to apply to your business immediately.

Growth Strategies for the Family-Owned Dealership


If you’re ready to get serious about succession and planning to ensure your business’s future success, we can’t wait to see you at the 2024 NADA Show in Las Vegas.

4 Strategies to Maximize Your NADA Experience

  1. Schedule a Complimentary Consultation: Book a meeting at our Booth #2100W during NADA or schedule a free consultation.
  2. Complete the Growth & Succession Assessment: Get a custom report to focus on your strengths and opportunities.
  3. Attend the Annual Wine Event: Join us for wine, insights, and Q&A with our experts.
  4. Register to Attend the AutoTeam America Buy/Sell Summit: Gain insights and network with industry pros.

The Succession Planning Matrix

Many people put off succession planning because they think it means retirement, exit, and the end. However; succession planning is just the beginning. It gives the owner options in terms of what “their next” looks like, whether that be growth, philanthropy, or a new business venture. Our process focuses are addressing 10 key areas of what we call the Succession

Click the following link for more drill-down resources on The Succession Matrix, or check out our Facebook post.

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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.