NADA Key Takeaways – The Convention’s First General Session

By: Tim Hickle

NADA Convention General SessionThe 2014 NADA Convention and Expo officially kicked off today with the first General Session of the day. This session led into Steve Forbes’ keynote and was heavily attended by dealers and vendors alike. Here are a few key takeaways from the session before the Steve Forbes Keynote.

The Car Business is Booming

The session began with a rousing video, boasting the fact that auto sales pay 16% of all sales tax, and Desmond A. Roberts and David Westcott went on to discuss how the car business has rebounded in a big way.

Auto sales hit nearly $16m for first time since 2007 and, as David Westcott said, “The auto industry is back and better than ever.”

Westcott believed that this is about much more than the increase in the economy as of late. “Wherever you’re from, all dealers share the same trait: passion.”

NADA Believes in Dealers

This year’s NADA Convention and Expo played host to over 22,000 attendees. 2,000 of these people were international visitors coming from 35 different countries. The adulation given to these dealers by their NADA hosts was huge.

“For an industry as tough and determined as ours, we’re lucky to be in a city so tough and determined,” said Desmond Roberts.

David Westcott went on to discuss the hot button issue of flat rate dealership financing. He talked about how NADA fought Congress tooth and nail to refute the policy, which they believed would limit consumer choice, and keep too many people off the road, increasing cost for consumers.

Time Dealer of the Year

The final presentation before Forbes’ keynote was the award ceremony for Time Dealer of the Year. Mike Carpenter of Ally Financial came to present the award, introducing us to the 50 finalists from across the country and letting us know that the Ally booth will be partnering with the Second Harvest Food Bank. For every dealer that checks in at the Ally Financial booth between now and Monday, they will donate an additional 10 meals to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Regional winners:

-David Luther, Minneapolis, MN

-Marisa Shockley, Frederick, MD

-Greg Kaminsky, El Cajon, CA

Dealer of the Year

Jeff Teague, El Dorado, Arkansas

We’ll be covering the Steve Forbes Keynote in a separate post. For full coverage of NADA 2014, sign up for our recap here.