By Steve GormanA couple years ago, when the car industry was struggling, the dealership industry seemed to be the most important sector of the economy.
Now, though, the dealerships are not.
The dealerships account for just 2% of the U.S. economy, and they are losing ground fast.
They are losing out to cheaper car rentals, online services, and other online alternatives.
They are losing customers to the internet and mobile services.
The biggest winners are not the automakers but the small car dealers, which are now the fastest growing segment in the economy and are growing at a rate that has tripled since 2009.
These new forces, the decline of the car dealer, the shift of dealers to the online and mobile world, the increasing concentration of sales in the big-box stores, the lack of local and regional retailers, and the consolidation of auto manufacturing in the U