Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 2011 SDADA Column

Stephen Wade has spoken several times in the past two weeks about the NADA-commissioned independent study on factors that drive return on investment, specifically as it relates to facilities. Currently, there is considerable “buzz” in the automotive press about this study which is expected to be completed by year-end.
Manufacturers often justify image programs on the grounds that “the store image must support the brand” and “customers expect all our stores to offer a similar look and feel.” But there’s little hard evidence of the return on investment of such spending, to either the OEM or the dealer. As a result, we dealers make facility investment decisions based on subjective factors, such as opinions and personalities, which – as you know – is no way to run a business.

NADA expects the study’s findings to be of use to dealers and OEMs alike, by moving the facilities debate away from opinion and assertion and more toward facts and data. Hopefully, the results of this study will put dealers like you and me in a better position to make informed, rational decisions about our facilities.
I just returned from Washington, DC (for the second time in five weeks - lucky me!) where I attended my first NADART Board of Directors meeting. I was just elected to this board in September.
NADART provides full service, low cost retirement plans - including 401(k), pension and profit-sharing options with available features such as automatic enrollment, Roth contributions, new comparability consulting and a low cost, flexible fee structure. NADART has offered retirement plan solutions to NADA members since 1957.
Recently, the scope of NADART’s business has expanded beyond the auto industry and it now provides retirement plan services to a wide variety of small businesses and organizations, as well as many larger businesses. Employers choosing a NADART employee retirement plan receive exceptional value at a low cost.
As I see it, there are two questions any dealer who does not currently sponsor a NADART plan might have. First, why should I offer a qualified retirement plan to my employees? The right employee retirement plan can help you attract and keep qualified employees and it can help secure your own retirement by building some net worth outside of the automobile business.
Secondly, why sponsor a NADART plan? NADART retirement plans are offered at costs that are much lower than competitors with comparable services. NADART services include 24 hour a day account access, on-site consulting service, complete plan administration services, low-cost educational workshops and a toll-free information hotline.
I’m sure some of you are using a plan offered by a customer or someone you know in your community. That’s what I did for some time. But I can assure you that it is worth your time to take a look at NADART’s programs. I saved a lot of money and my employees are “completely satisfied”(!) with NADART.
Approximately 2,000 automobile dealers and 90,000 participants use NADART for their retirement plan needs. If you have questions, call NADART at (800) 462-3278. If you know other small businesspersons who may considering sponsoring a qualified retirement plan for their employees, do them a favor and have them call that number. Please feel free to call me if I can be a resource in any way.
NADA, ATD Using Technology to Enhance Convention Experience
The NADA-ATD Convention is fast approaching and this year it will feature several enhancements to dealers’ convention experience, including:
- A NADA Convention and Expo Smartphone App that will put the entire convention website at your fingertips
- Interactive displays throughout the convention center that will allow you to search for workshops, franchise meetings and exhibitors using a quick and easy touch screen
- A Social Connection Zone featuring a high-end lounge with a social media wall, comfy chairs, coffee, free wireless Internet and recharging stations
- MyNADAPlanner, the convention tool that allows you to select workshops, note times of franchise meetings, schedule meetings with exhibitors and create a road map to the convention before even leaving the dealership
Convention registration is brisk, with five hotels already sold out. Remember to secure your airline reservations early. The convention coincides with the Super Bowl and that may make flights difficult. Register today at

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September 2011 SDADA Column

At our Washington Conference board meeting, the NADA IT committee introduced the all-new NADA mobile app for the iOS (iPhone and iPad). I am excited to roll this app out because of all the potential it offers for our organization. I envision the app as the mobile portal to all things related to the automotive world.

For those of you using the iPhone or iPad, I would ask that you download the app, use it and provide me with some direct feedback – positive and/or negative. The only way to get this app to work for our member dealers is make it work for them. That is why your feedback is so important.

For those of you on the Android OS, we hope to have that version available soon. I will certainly keep you updated on our progress.

To download the app, go to the iTunes app store and search for “NADA”. The free NADA app should appear at or near the top of the list. Just download it and put it to work.

I look forward to your feedback.

Washington Conference

Myron, John Hageman, Mark McKie, David Hersrud, Dan Jacobson and I attended the annual NADA Washington Conference. While nothing I experienced there disputed the notion that Washington is broken, there were some reassuring moments from some of the speakers we heard from. We heard from John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) among others, but I was most impressed by 30-year old Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Illinois) who spoke at our NextGen reception. He is a very impressive young man. I advise you to keep an eye out for that name; you will see more of him!

Election Time
At our recent board meeting, we elected Bill Underriner as chairman and Dave Westcott as vice chairman for 2012. Underriner is a Honda, Hyundai, Buick and Volvo dealer in Billings, Montana. He is serving as vice chairman this year. Westcott is a Buick-GMC and Suzuki dealer in Burlington, N.C. They will take office at the 2012 NADA-ATD Convention and Expo in Las Vegas, which runs Feb. 3-6. I look forward to working with both gentlemen.

NADA Convention 

Stay Connected with the NADA and ATD Convention on Facebook and Twitter There are now more ways than ever to "connect" with the 2012 NADA/ATD Convention and Expo, Feb. 3-6 in Las Vegas. "Like" the convention's Facebook page ( and follow convention news on Twitter ( to receive instant updates on speakers, registration, exhibitors, hotels and more. Plus, stay tuned for NADA's new smart phone app coming this fall, putting the entire convention at your fingertips. And don’t forget to check out MyNADAPlanner, the tool that allows you to select workshops, note times of franchise meetings, schedule meetings with exhibitors and create a road map for the convention before even leaving your dealership. Convention registration is now open online at

NADA has a great lineup of speakers for the event. President George W. Bush and Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Chrysler Group, and chairman of Fiat Industrial S.p.A. are the scheduled keynote speakers for the convention. The inspirational address will be provided by Aron Ralston, who had to amputate his right arm with a knife to free himself from a boulder after a hiking accident. His autobiography “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” was the subject of the film “127 Hours.”

The 2012 convention, which runs Feb. 3-6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, will mark the first time that the NADA and ATD conventions will be held together. The convention also includes workshop sessions, franchise meetings, hundreds of exhibits and a new Social Connection Zone. I believe that there is no other event that offers us dealers and our managers so much at one time in one location. Make plans to attend now!