The second day of the Automotive Industry Event of the Year rolled on Friday, March 11 with the official “seatbelt unbuckling” ceremony that marks the opening of the NADA Show Expo at the newly expanded Las Vegas Convention Center.
NADA 2021 Chairman Paul Walser gave remarks ahead of the seatbelt unbuckling, noting that this year’s NADA Show really was a homecoming. “People are excited after a couple of years to get back together.”
That excitement was palpable on the NADA Expo floor as a drumline led the way into the auto industry’s premier marketplace, and NADA Show attendees took their spots to meet with representatives from more than 500 companies offering products, solutions and services specifically for dealerships. Everyone from startups to Fortune 500 companies are on hand to offer new and exciting ways help grow business, boost a company’s bottom line and keep ahead of the competition.
The Future Dealership is Electric and Diverse
The Live Stage programming kicked off with two major press conferences to unveil two new partnerships, programs and initiatives geared toward staffing and training the employees of the dealership of the future.
First up, a new program to enhance EV training and education at dealerships nationwide. The new online, interactive program is being developed by NADA in collaboration with the Center for Sustainable Energy and Plug In America and supported by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.
NADA President and CEO Mike Stanton was joined by John Gartner of the Center for Sustainable Energy, John Bozzella of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and Joel Levin, of Plug in America in making the announcement. “We are at an inflection point in the automotive industry as we move from early adopters of EV into creating a mainstream EV market,” Gartner said. “Through this program, thousands of sales representatives will have the tools to effectively communicate to that prospective customer the reality of being an EV owner and become that trusted source they need.”
NADA also announced a new partnership with the National Urban League (the League) to create a workforce development initiative aimed at recruiting, training and hiring more women and minorities in the auto retail industry. This collaboration marks the first time NADA has teamed up with the League, a historic civil rights organization.
“This is something that can change our industry in a material way,” 2021 NADA Chairman Paul Walser said at the press conference held on the Live State. “This is not just a moral priority. This is an initiative that’s good for dealers. Diverse teams just work better. They get better results.”
“The National Urban League works with small businesses and dealers like you. What makes us the perfect marriage; you have the need, you have some good jobs, and we want to find good people for you,” said NUL’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Don Cravins.
Knowledge Powered by Experts
From the Live Stage sessions to the all-new Dealer Learning Labs, there were plenty of opportunities to get the latest news and information on emerging trends and technologies, no matter what your preferred learning style. Friday was jam-packed with workshops, educational sessions, peer-to-peer Exchange roundtables, and speeches from business world all-stars.
In addition, industry experts and thought leaders shared their insights on who’s best equipped to sell EVs, what dealers need to know about going electric, what marketing metrics matter, old school selling techniques that translate to the digital age, and the importance of television advertising. And Google made news by announcing a new major ad platform for auto dealers.
The Main Stage Opens the Show
The excitement continued on the Main Stage for the NADA Show Opening. Scott Dube, 2022 NADA Show Committee Chairman kicked off the Main Stage session by recognizing exhibitor Hercules Vehicles Washing Systems, which is celebrating its’ 50th year at the NADA Show.
Then 2021 NADA Chairman Paul Walser took the stage to reflect on his time serving the association during one of the most unusual and uncertain years in dealer franchise history. The second-generation dealer from Minnesota highlighted the progress made on his priorities as chairman, included industry diversity, protecting and strengthening the franchise system and the retail aspect of the evolution of electric vehicles. “We’ve learned things in the last years that otherwise might have taken decades. Dealers have adapted and even thrived through this difficult time,” he said.
One of the major highlights of the Main Stage was the announcement of the 2022 Time Magazine Dealer of the Year, Bob Giles of Giles Automotive Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana. According to Time, “The Louisiana-dealer’s extraordinary business and community leadership earned Giles the most prestigious award in the automotive retail industry. A standout of his many contributions was the launch of the Giles Essential Errand Running Service, which offers grocery and essential item deliveries by dealership staff to senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals.”
Former White House press secretary and co-anchor of Fox’s America’s Newsroom Dana Perino delivered the keynote, speaking on her seven years as part of the administration of President George W. Bush.
Looking Ahead to Day Three
The NADA Show action continues tomorrow with more workshops, Exchanges, Live Stage sessions, the Distinguished Speakers series and Dealer Franchise meetings throughout the day.
In addition, the NADA Women Driving Auto Retail initiative is hosting its annual lunch where the men and women who are leading the charge in shaping auto retail and creating opportunities for the next generation will offer ideas and best practices. And, join us at the BacklotCars Booth #3741W where we’ll auction off a Harley Davidson LiveWire One, 100% electric motorcycle to benefit the NADA Foundation and Canine Companions for Independence.
Missed the first day? Read a recap of day one.
Stay up to date on sessions, recaps, photos and videos with our official daily show recaps and be sure to follow all things NADA Show on social media using the hashtag #NADASHOW on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.