Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008, 07:00 PM UPDATED 11:59 AMBy Nick Zulovich
ARLINGTON, Texas — Officials recently announced that two industry associations are partnering with the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association to expand NIADA's 62nd Annual Convention and Expo in Grapevine, Texas.
The event will be held June 24 to 28.
Dave Robertson, executive director of the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals, and Jeff Dodd, president of the National Association of Fleet Resale Dealers, have said their groups will be participating in the NIADA convention.
"All three associations are integral parts of the motor vehicle industry, and all of our members will benefit from the joint activity," said Mike Linn, NIADA's executive vice president and chief executive officer.
"Our concept is to bring dealer principals, F&I specialists and fleet/lease resellers together so we can present a strong convention and trade show," Linn continued. "We can draw on mutual resources to enhance the quality of our education and increase our attendance. That allows our vendors and exhibitors to focus on their target markets in a single location rather than have to make choices."
Robertson, whose Colleyville, Texas-based organization certifies F&I specialists, said he felt the concept would be especially strong for educational purposes.
"Finance and insurance staff want to obtain mastery of applicable regulations, but it can be very difficult to justify leaving the dealership," Robertson said. "This method of associations working together trims many of the obstacles and gives an individual the chance to get his education, discover new concepts at the trade show and network with others who have experience to share — all at the same time."
Dodd, who heads up the Arlington-based NAFRD, indicated, "Our members handle fleet vehicles, but literally all of them work out of their own dealerships. We're the wholesale end of the industry, but most members also have a buy-here, pay-here or a retail outlet.
"For our members, this is a perfect mesh for all of the right reasons. We can conduct our own association business and fully participate in the larger circle of the industry," he continued.
NIADA also reported that it made several changes to its educational offerings during its 2007 convention to lay the groundwork for participation by NAFRD and AFIP. Those changes included the creating of three tracks for attendees: buy-here, pay-here, retail and general education.
"The educational track expansion was exceptionally helpful to our dealers last year," Linn explained. "Most of our educational sessions generated more than enough carry-over information from one industry segment to another, but the dealer didn't always know what kind of information would be available. Now, dealers can select specific educational topics and customize their experiences to their own needs."
The opening education session for the convention is scheduled for 8 a.m. June 26 at the Gaylord Texan Resort, just a few minutes north of the DFW Airport in Dallas.
The National Leadership Awards banquet is scheduled for June 27, and the National Quality Dealer Awards will be held June 28.
Linn said he expects attendance at the convention and trade show to exceed 1,500 as the event returns to the Dallas Metroplex for the first time since 2004.
Registration forms and additional information are available at .