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2012 NADA copnvention on pace to be biggest since 2008

December 9, 2011
By Mark Scarpelli, Chicago Metro NADA Director
There’s a running joke among dealers that no matter what happens, we’ll find something to be optimistic about. The good news is we have much to be optimistic about these days. The consumer confidence index jumped 15 points, November auto sales were the best since the “clunkers” program, and a new study predicts the auto industry will add 150,000 new jobs over the next four years. Things are looking up.
Expect that optimism to carry over in February, too, when we head to Las Vegas for the NADA/ATD 2012 Convention & Expo. If the last few months of 2011 are any indication, we have a lot to look forward to in 2012. Exhibit space in the Expo is sold out and attendee registration is up, which means the 2012 convention is shaping up to be one of the biggest in recent memory.
This convention will mark the first time the NADA and its American Truck Dealers (ATD) division will host a combined event for car dealers and heavy- and medium-duty truck dealers. Early interest is off the charts. For the first time since the economic collapse of 2008, we’re on pace to draw more than 20,000 attendees.
As always, we’ll have a host of dynamic speakers, including Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne; Aron Ralston, the climber who inspired the Oscar-nominated film “127 Hours;” and, our keynote speaker, former President George W. Bush. NADA University is offering more than 50 workshops, with two full workshop sessions beginning Friday, Feb. 3. And J.D. Power and Associates will again co-host Friday night’s Welcome Reception. We’ll also crown a new Time Dealer of the Year and announce the winners of the ATD Commercial Truck of the Year and ATD/Heavy Duty Trucking Truck Dealer of the Year awards.
It’s going to be quite an event – and not just because it’s Super Bowl weekend! Hotel rooms are filling up quickly. In fact, seven hotels have already sold out. So if you haven’t yet done so, make your plans today to attend by visiting There’s no better place to take the pulse of our entire industry. And chances are the outlook will be . . . optimistic!
In legislative and regulatory news . . .
• The Obama administration last month formally announced its Corporate Average Fuel Economy proposal for model years 2017-2025, nearly doubling current requirements to 54.5 mpg and adding about $3,000 to the average cost of a car. In response, the NADA said the proposal could price millions of Americans out of the new-vehicle market, which could reduce fleet turnover and delay environmental gains. “This regulation gambles that millions of consumers will be able to afford thousands more for generally smaller, more expensive vehicles that may not meet their needs,” the NADA said in a statement. “We need fuel economy policies that encourage the sales of fuel efficient vehicles, instead of risky mandates that frustrate consumer demand and depress fleet turnover.”
• The Federal Trade Commission conducted its third and final Motor Vehicle Dealer Roundtable on Nov. 17 in Washington, D.C. The FTC is examining what, if any, actions it should initiate to further protect consumers in the area of vehicle financing. The actions it may pursue include rulemaking, enforcement, and consumer and business education. As with the two prior FTC roundtables in Detroit and San Antonio, NADA representatives provided a vigorous defense of the dealer-assisted financing model and provided extensive information to correct and rebut a series of misstatements made about various dealer practices. NADA also underscored that, despite repeated requests for empirical information from the FTC, the consumer group allegations of dealer misconduct were anecdotal and unsupported by current and reliable data demonstrating that they are widespread.
• The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have released the 2012 Fuel Economy Guide. The guide provides detailed fuel economy numbers for MY 2012 light-duty vehicles, along with estimated annual fuel costs and other information for prospective purchasers. Dealers must display a copy of the guide and provide copies to customers upon request. There are a number of options available for dealers to comply. This month, EPA/DOE is electronically distributing the guide to dealers for printing as needed. Dealers also can download the file, save it and print it as necessary. Finally, dealers can order hard copies of the guide by calling DOE’s Information Center at (877) 337-3463 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST; or by using a form to order copies by mail. Hard copies will be mailed this month, free of charge.
In other NADA news . . .
The NADA has again partnered with Time magazine to produce a special section, “Driven by Innovation,” which was available on newsstands in early November. This is the ninth consecutive year that the NADA insert has appeared in Time, which is published weekly with a U.S. audience of more than 20 million and a global audience of more than 24 million. The 12-page section focuses on how the automobile industry is being shaped by advances in everything from clean-car technology to mobile apps.