2012 NADA-ATD convention registration indicates industry rebound

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The National Automobile Dealers Association says that early registration for the upcoming NADA Convention and Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., indicates attendance is on pace to exceed 20,000 for the first time in four years. Convention registration is up 20 percent compared to the same time last year; exhibit sales are up 30 percent, with 450 companies exhibiting in more than 500,000 square feet; and six hotels in Las Vegas already have sold out.

“The NADA convention is considered the automotive industry event of the year,” says Stephen Pitt, NADA vice president of conventions and expositions. “It’s also considered a bellwether of the economy. We haven’t seen these kinds of numbers since before the economic collapse in 2008. But now the economy is on the mend. New-car and -truck sales are steadily improving, and dealers are preparing for brighter days ahead.”

This is the first time the American Truck Dealers Convention & Expo will be held in conjunction with the NADA convention. Industry keynote speakers for the 2012 NADA-ATD convention, held Feb. 3-6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, include Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of the Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A.; NADA Chairman Stephen Wade; NADA Vice Chairman William Underriner; ATD Chairman Kyle Treadway; and Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America.

The NADA-ATD convention includes a combined 38 dealer franchise meetings. Seven automakers – Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Chrysler Group, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Kia Motors America, Mitsubishi Motors North America and Subaru of America – also will be exhibiting. For car and truck dealers and their managers, NADA University is offering more than 50 workshops at the convention with two full workshop sessions beginning Friday afternoon on Feb. 3.

Pitt urges those who are planning to attend to register early, especially considering the other events occurring in Las Vegas at the same time of the convention, such as the Nevada GOP caucus and Super Bowl weekend, which is big in Las Vegas even though the game will be played in Indianapolis. For more information or to register to attend the convention, go to www.nadaconventionandexpo.org.