The bigger problem for the dying industries is that they're taking on companies that at their core solve problems and disrupt. As opposed to being pathetic and continuing to prolonge the inevitable, they should focus their efforts on product development/sales channels. Or maybe even become a little innovative themselves.
However, there will always be some new car retailers because some people like to buy new cars in person and drive them immediately. I think the standards for sales staff will continue to change away from the old commissioned, "pal" model to the new non-commissioned, quant/car nerd model. It is a change that seems to be defining this generation of workers.
When you factor in something unusual, like a Wankel engine, the experience gets exponentially worse. Just browse any RX-7 or RX-8 forum and you'll see nothing but horror stories whenever anyone asks "where should I have my car serviced?".
So much for the dealer's investment in "expensive equipment and training". They don't... they hire the cheapest labor that meets their loose requirements.
Now take that difference even further and eliminate the ICE and replace it with 6k+ Li-Ion cells with their own cooling system, an AC induction motor, high powered inverter and the related heavy cabling, and you're going to have massive confusion and problems in a dealer whose primary sales and training is for conventional vehicles.
Of course, a possible answer could be _exclusive_ dealerships with _extremely_ strict requirements for training and such, but I'm sure there are probably laws against that as well.
Ultimately, the ICE car companies still have the innovator's dilemma in front of them. It's not that they don't see the benefits of new technologies, they just don't have a path that allows them to maintain their current size and infrastructure at the same time.
A few of the things Tesla is capitalizing on:
1) Dell's "just in time" manufacturing.
2) Google's use of commodity hardware for scaling. Big iron servers vs linux boxes that can fail individual is like the the li-ion batter pack with several thousand cells vs large nickle-based batteries.
3) Toyota's quality based on open, healthy, workplace relationships that put quality ahead of quantity.
4) Apple's retail store model that seeks to inform without a pressure to buy using a simplified comparison model.
5) The benefit of being the disrupter instead of the disrupted.
6) Engineering focused leadership instead of sales focused leadership; a solid product sells itself.
7) Infrastructure to support interstate EV travel.
In time, the entrenched auto companies will likely fail or shrink to shells of their former selves. Much of what needs to change has been a problem for 30 some years and runs orthogonal to what they're used to.
I'm fairly certain we're all sick of private-industry and government colluding together in the name of state-sponsored profit. No industry deserves a guaranteed profit margin.
You've misplaced the emphasis. It's the people working in the industry that need to innovate (by finding something else to do). The industry itself seems to be obsolete.
It's certainly possible for a business dedicated to distribution and sales to provide an experience superior to that of a manufacturer doing sales on the side. It's tougher in this case because cars are a big-ticket item, so manufacturers have an easier time justifying their own distribution and sales network than somebody who makes a trinket you need to sell at Walmart. However, the bigger problem is that car dealerships today are in no way optimized for providing an experience superior to anything.