It wasn't all business at NADA

Kathy Jackson covers Asian automakers for Automotive News from Los Angeles.
Boy, did I have fun at NADA on Valentine's Day. Don't know what everyone else was doing, but I had a ball.

My first day on the convention floor, Feb. 13, was quiet -- almost to the point of being boring. But you could feel the vibes picking up on the morning of the 14th. By about 3:30, the place was starting to kick.

First was the festive booth run by Martin Schleifer and Paul Rosen. It was at the entrance with live piano music, free beer, palm readings and Hershey's kisses. The business, MSA Advertising, caters to individual dealer advertising. "We want dealers to know that newspapers are cutting deals like never before," says Schleifer. "Twenty-five percent off rates from four years ago."

The free beer and music got people's attention. They were dropping by and gabbing.

They really had it going on at the Manheim booth -- a sports bar with lots of flat screen TVs and free beer, wine, soft drinks and nuts. You would have thought you were on the set of "Cheers." The bar was packed.

A Manheim spokeswoman explained this was the first year for the sports bar concept. "We want to conduct business but at the same time have a relaxed atmosphere," she said. Relaxed they were. There wasn't an empty chair in the place which sat about 20 comfortably.

Last, but not least, was the Hyundai party at the Ice Bar and Fire Lounge. Oh my! There was an ice room off to the side, which resembled an igloo. It's so cold that you were given gloves, hats, scarves and wraps before you entered. But once you were inside, the ice cold vodka is TO DIE FOR.

I complimented John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America. But I had to let him know it wasn't all good. Only junk food was to be had: Mini burgers and some fried things. Not one piece of fruit or a vegetable.

John!!! What's up???