car dealers' history

Can someone tell me how the automobile dealership industry sharted? Any links to related websites would also help.

I’ll stick my neck out here on a WAG, and say the first modern dealership was a Ford one.

Before that, there seemed to be “agents” and “licensees” in the European style of Daimler and Benz. As Ford was keen to get his product out to the masses, dealerships were a good means to an end.

I think the idea behind dealerships was in part a legislated one. By that I mean that fairly early on, the US gov’t decided that for the manufacturer to sell its own product directly to the consumer would be a violation of anti-trust (monopoly) laws. That’s why in the age of internet commerce, you still can’t go to the manufacturer website and order a vehicle directly from the company. I think you’ll find that in every case, the best you can do is go through the “build process” and then search for a dealer near you to give you a price quote.