Conferences and Events

DriveItNow, GoMoto to power NADA's 'Modern Dealership Experience'


DriveItNow and GoMoto will lead NADA’s “Modern Dealership Experience” during its convention in New Orleans later this month.

During the presentation, the companies are set to discuss the latest disruptive technological developments that can help dealers boost sales and enhance service experiences for online buyers.

“Consumers want to complete more of the car buying process online,” said DriveItNow president Tarry Shebesta in a press release.

"Through our patent-pending Shop-by-Payment feature and Automotive Digital Retailing platform, DriveItNow creates a better online to offline consumer experience and gives dealers a competitive edge.”

Additionally, DriveItNow said it will review solutions concerning everyday dealership challenges as market competitors are continually capitalizing on car buyers changing shopping preferences.

Following “Modern Dealership Experience,” demonstrations will also take place throughout the convention.

“GoMoto will demonstrate our breakthrough, patent-pending self-service technology for the service drives and showrooms.” said GoMoto chief executive officer Todd Marcelle.

The company offers cloud-based customer engagement solutions via its HUBKiosk Platform.

“This technology is designed to enhance the modern car buying experience, meet the demands of today's consumers, and enhance the bottom line,” said Marcelle.

NADA’s four-day convention begins on Jan. 26.

Cox Automotive to join Jive for workforce engagement webinar

PALO ALTO, Calif. - 

Cox Automotive and Jive Software will discuss best practices for building an engaged workforce in a free live webinar next Thursday entitled, "Building an Engaged Workforce at Cox Automotive."

Cox Automotive communications manager Billy Auer will join Darshita Maniar, senior manager of product marketing at Jive Software, to examine the tools and technologies used to support employees through their careers at the company as well as how to overcome organizational fragmentation due to differing locations, devices and workstyles.

"With so many brands on one unified hub, we have a place for everything from communication to knowledge-sharing to social interaction across our entire organization," said Auer. "This has allowed us to not only better unite as a company, but also harness collaboration across brands, teams and locations in a way that helps everyone work better together."

Cox Automotive uses Jive, a provider of modern communication and collaboration solutions for business, to help maintain its vital human resources and corporate communications objectives, such as implementing company culture and broadening employee engagement.

For more information regarding the upcoming webinar and registration visit Jive’s webpage.

AutoNation calls Eli Young Band for benefit concert


On Tuesday, AutoNation announced that the country music group Eli Young Band is scheduled to perform at its AutoNation Cure Bowl Tailgate Party and Concert, a benefit for breast cancer research.

"We are pleased to join AutoNation in the fight against cancer,” said the Eli Young Band in a statement. “This disease hits close to home for many people, so being a part of raising awareness is very important to us."

AutoNation is donating to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and has committed a total of $2,000,000 to the organization, the largest private funder of breast cancer research.

The second annual event is on Dec. 17 at Tinker Field in Orlando, Fla. 

Tickets can be purchased at

Eli Young Band has gone double platinum and holds a Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

Head of KAR gives Barcelona forum keynote

CARMEL, Ind. - 

Jim Hallett, KAR Auction Services chairman and chief executive officer gave a keynote address during the Fleet Europe Remarketing Forum in Barcelona on Nov. 15.

 “The European auto remarketing industry is rapidly evolving. Economic trends, shifting demographics and rising customer expectations are accelerating change – and opportunity for new entrants and disruptors,” said Hallett in comments that were shared in a KAR news release. “Integrated technology and clear, actionable data are central to empowering the buying and selling experience. I appreciated the opportunity to contribute KAR’s insights and solutions to this important dialogue and dynamic marketplace.”

Hallett spoke of his thoughts concerning the future of automotive remarketing based on more than 40 years of industry experience and what he’s learned as the leader of KAR Auction Services.

He also explained building the company from a single auction into a multi-national technology company to one focused on innovation, data science and service. And shared insight regarding KAR’s integrated approach to remarketing through the company’s three main business units, ADESA, Automotive Finance Company (AFC) and Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA).

Annually, the Remarketing Forum gathers 150 industry professionals from a variety sections within the remarketing industry, such as OEMs, residual value setters and consultants, vehicle leasing companies, car rental companies, remarketing insurance providers, connect and trade insight about significant industry topics.

The forum was hosted at the Catalunya Congress Center in Barcelona.

Cox Automotive announces upcoming educational events for dealers


Cox Automotive has three events remaining in its 2016 Interactive Dealer Summit and Elevate program series.

Each event is designed to help dealers attain profitability and advance their wholesale and retail operations in the face of declining margins and growing consumer expectations for the buying experience.

The lineup includes:
— The Philadelphia Interactive Dealer Summit in King of Prussia, Pa., on Nov. 16.
— The City of Industry Elevate Dealer Summit in City of Industry, Calif., on Dec. 6.
— The Universal City Elevate Dealer Summit in Universal City, Calif., on Dec. 8.

"We absorbed a lot of information and the topics were spot on," said Tim Watson, IT and digital marketing at Portland Volvo and Southern Maine Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. "I was able to come back to the dealership and put the best practices I'd learned into place right away, and we're already starting to see results. If dealers have the opportunity to attend an event this year, I can't recommend it highly enough."

Specific topics arranged to be discussed at the three events include improving staff training to elevate dealership performance; reducing days to sell and increasing inventory turns; and increasing consumer demand by improving the buying experience, both online and offline.

The events are open to the general dealer public and will consist of breakout sessions, keynote speakers and networking opportunities.

Dealers can also register to view the Nov. 16 summit live via simulcast.

For information about the Interactive Dealer Summit and Elevate programs and the upcoming events visit .


How to win in ‘era of empowered consumer’

There have been some big changes to the digital marketing landscape — ones that certainly impact dealers, says Kerri Wise, TrueCar's vice president of dealer marketing.

“We're in the era of the empowered consumer,” Wise said in a phone interview with AuSM. “And I think the consumer is really what's changing.

“They have a lot of information at their fingertips, in terms of pricing information and vehicle information,” she said. “They have technology that's ever-evolving that allows them to have that information wherever they go, in terms of their smartphone.

“And they have high expectations in terms of the experience. So I think with those three elements, in terms of the consumer, it's kind of forcing dealers to also adjust to meet the needs of that consumer.” 

In fact, TrueCar recently conducted a study of its dealer partners that closed sales at the highest rates (relative to competitors).

The company found that these dealers were the ones who were strongest at “meeting needs of that empowered consumer and connecting the dots between what happens online and then what happens off-line, in the store — which is a much more difficult thing to do these days,” Wise said.

Wise will discuss this concept of the “evolving consumer” further during her presentation at the CPO Forum, part of the Used Car Week Conferences being held Nov. 14-18 at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas.

Her session — titled “Key Tactics to Compete and Win in Today's Transparent Marketplace” — will be held at 4 p.m. (PT) on Nov. 15.

“One of the advantages that we have at TrueCar is that we're watching some of the patterns of consumers from shopping all the way through the sale,” she said.

“And so we learn a lot about not only how they shop, but how they're changing. And so I'm going to be using some of that insight from consumers as well as our observations and studying of our top-performing dealers to understand how these top-performing dealers close at a high percent in a transparent way,” Wise said. “It's easier said than done.

“We'll be looking at these consumer insights, combined with these best practices from real dealers that are balancing transparency and balancing their bottom line, and sharing that with the audience in terms of what makes them successful,” she said.


DealerSocket combines user & independent store events


This year, hundreds of independent dealers who previously attended Innovate: The Independent Dealer Conference will instead set their sights on DealerSocket’s User Summit. The seventh annual conference will host dealers from both the franchised and independent space with more than 1,100 guests expected.

This is the first year that User Summit attendees will be able to choose an independent track (from more than 70 total classes) that highlights today’s most pressing compliance issues, industry insights and best practices from other dealers, as well as new independent technology.

Breakout sessions will cover the latest developments in compliance; digital marketing; customer experience; DMS, CRM and inventory management technology; business management; sales and marketing; and more. There is even a track covering the sales, service, F&I and collections concerns of buy-here-pay-here dealers.

“We are thrilled to expand our annual User Summit to welcome former Innovate attendees into the fold. Last year, we introduced a small selection of independent classes, but starting this year, we are officially merging with Innovate and multiplying our schedule to include a Texas-sized offering for independent attendees,” said Peter Ord, national sales director, independent at DealerSocket.

“Whether you are a member of the DealerSocket family or just interested in educating yourself on the issues facing your business, User Summit will prepare you for the future of independent,” Ord continued.

Among what's in store, DealerSocket will officially launch Blackbird at this year’s event, complete with on-site demos. Blackbird includes the company’s brand-new CRM, as well as the long-awaited iDMS.

DealerSocket will also release its second annual Independent Dealership Action Report, a comprehensive, data-packed guide on the state of today’s independent industry and how dealers can thrive amid its challenges.

User Summit 2016 will take place Oct. 3-5 at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. For more information or to register, visit .

The value of partnerships & personal relationships


I thought I would diverge from my normal discussions this month as a result of a recent customer forum hosted by ShipCarsNow.

First, let me say that the graciousness of the management of ShipCarsNow and the incredible attention to detail of the staff could create standards for any industry conferences going forward.

With that said, this conference was a cross-section of OEM remarketers, data service companies and logistics and transportation experts along with auction veterans. 

Our discussions covered a broad range of historical, current and future challenges and opportunities with very little disagreement on what those areas actually initialed.

The interesting dynamic in this event was the willingness of all the participants to listen to and understand that all the pieces represented had a symbiotic relationship and success for all was truly the success for each individual piece of the remarketing puzzle.

Equally important were the discussions surrounding interpersonal relationships in all segments of the remarketing chain, as our near-cult following to net-based services tends to lead us into a myopic vision of what we think our customers want and need. 

Clearly, issues like recalls, data streams, analytics and logistics affect all of us, but more importantly, our goal is to create, based on legal and company dynamics, a transparent transaction to ensure our end users value and appreciate the product we deliver and the stream we deliver it in.

Forums like this one allow us to discuss, build personal relationships and look at systems to create just that: transactions in the used wholesale vehicle space that give our customer base all the information they need to consistently purchase and resell vehicles, increase their profitability and their churn, then returning to whichever channel they choose to purchase their next one, either upstream, downstream, in-lane or online.

To all of you attending with me — and you know who you are — my sincerest thanks for your insight and for your partnership in moving this essential industry forward.


Jim DesRochers is vice president at Dealers Auto Auction of the Southwest.

Registration for 2017 NADA Convention and Expo now open

TYSONS, Va. - 

Online registration and hotel selection for the 2017 NADA Convention and Expo in New Orleans is now open.

The four-day convention, which runs from Jan. 26-29, will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Considered the auto industry event of the year, the NADA convention includes dealer franchise meetings, workshops, an exhibitor showcase and numerous networking events.

NADA Convention speakers include comedian Jim Gaffigan and NADA chairman Jeff Carlson on Jan. 27; and inspirational speaker Amy Purdy and NADA vice chairman Mark Scarpelli on Jan. 29. A fifth speaker will be announced in the coming weeks.

Kicking off the convention will be the NADA 100 Carnival, one of many events being held in honor of NADA’s 100th anniversary.

The exclusive event for NADA members, international affiliates and guests will be held at Mardi Gras World from 7 to 10 p.m. on Jan. 26. The carnival will feature cuisine from top New Orleans restaurants, as well as entertainment from the headlining band Foreigner, Cowboy Mouth and local jazz musicians. The NADA member and manager registration fee includes admission to the NADA 100 Carnival.

NADA members and their managers who register for the convention by Sept. 9 will receive a $100 discount from the onsite rate. The member dealer and manager registration fee includes admission to the NADA 100 Carnival, and convention badges must be presented at entry. A limited number of carnival tickets will be available for purchase by non-member dealers and managers; allied industry attendees are not eligible to purchase carnival tickets. Shuttle buses will be provided to and from Mardi Gras World and the official NADA hotels.   

For more information and to register,

A closer look at the convention speakers

Jim Gaffigan: Gaffigan, an entertainer and father of five children, has achieved major accomplishments in stand-up comedy, acting and writing, including two New York Times best-selling books, Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story. His semi-fictitious television show, “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” which TV Land picked up, is in its second season. Gaffigan has also guest starred on many television comedies, dramas and movies. With multiple projects in motion, Gaffigan is currently traveling the world with his stand-up tour, “Fully Dressed.” He is one of only 10 comics in history to sell out Madison Square Garden.

Jeff Carlson: Carlson is president of Glenwood Springs Ford and Glenwood Springs Subaru in Glenwood Springs, Colo., and co-owner of Summit Ford in Silverthorne, Colo. As NADA’s 2016 chairman, Carlson is leading franchised new-car dealers through some of the most pressing legislative and regulatory challenges they have faced in years, including attacks on indirect auto financing and the dealer franchise system. Carlson started in the auto business in 1973, working for Ford Motor Co. In 1979, he joined Glenwood Springs Ford-Lincoln-Mercury as a sales manager. He purchased a stake in the dealership in 1982 and became president in 1986 and expanded the business to three dealerships. He represents Colorado’s new-car dealers on NADA’s board of directors. Carlson is a past TIME Dealer of the Year nominee representing Colorado.

Amy Purdy: Through poignant and inspirational stories, Purdy informs audiences on how to use their challenges to push past their limits and live life without barriers. She lost her legs, kidneys and spleen to bacterial meningitis at age 19. Today, she is a top-ranked adaptive snowboarder, author of the New York Times best-seller On My Own Two Feet, actress, model and clothing designer. Purdy competed on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and was the show’s first double-amputee contestant.

Mark Scarpelli :Scarpelli is NADA's 2016 vice chairman, as well as president of Raymond Chevrolet and Kia in Antioch, Ill. His keynote address will highlight the association’s key priorities for 2017. Scarpelli, a second-generation dealer, worked his way up learning all areas of the dealership. In 1986, he was hired by General Motors as the district sales manager for the Boston zone, and three years later returned to the family-run dealership. He represents Metropolitan Chicago’s new-car dealers on NADA’s board of directors.

NIADA Convention attendance jumps 19%, setting new record


It’s already a record-setting 2016 NIADA Convention and Expo, and the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association is just getting its week of meetings, training, networking and other festivities started.

The 70th anniversary convention opened on Monday at its new venue — the recently renovated Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas — having already surpassed the record for most registered attendees, breaking the previous record by 19 percent.

That previous record was set at the 2006 Convention and Expo at the Las Vegas Hilton.

That record number is expected to grow with on-site registrations to solidify the event’s place as the largest in its 70-year history.

NIADA highlighted that convention attendance had already been trending upward as last year marked the third consecutive increase, an 8 percent rise above the 2014 event. The 2016 convention attendance received an extra boost from the addition of the BHPH World Convention, one of the assets acquired by NIADA from Leedom and Associates in December.

That convention has been folded into the NIADA Convention and Expo, significantly expanding its buy-here, pay-here and subprime auto finance training.

As a result, the 2016 NIADA Convention and Expo offers more dealer education sessions on more topics than ever before, including an extensive BHPH component led by NIADA national director of 20 Groups Chuck Bonanno.

Bonanno is a 13-year veteran of the Leedom operation who joined NIADA to grow the newly acquired educational assets, which also include 20 Groups, boot camps, dealership consulting and BHPH Dealer magazine.

The association also mentioned this year's event also boasts the largest expo hall ever with more than 170 exhibitors in a space some 10,000 square feet larger than last year’s Expo at Caesars Palace.

As always, the 2016 NIADA Convention and Expo features the insight of NIADA director of dealer development Joe Lescota and compliance sessions led by NIADA senior vice president of legal and government affairs Shaun Petersen, as well as industry knowledge and ideas from some of the industry’s best and brightest, including TrueCar chief executive officer Chip Perry, Autotrader’s Howard Polirer, Equifax’s Angelica Jeffreys, AutoZone's Ray Curry, NABD president Ken Shilson, Cox Automotive chief economist Tom Webb and more.

In addition, the convention includes social events, networking opportunities and events to honor the used vehicle industry’s best — the National Leadership Awards Banquet on Wednesday night and the National Quality Dealer Award ceremony Thursday night.