NADA: Not a lot to argue about
Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.
In years past, National Automobile Dealers Association conventions have been a battleground over all sorts of issues.
With most businesses slowly recovering from the financial disasters of the past few years, this year's NADA convention has seemed a lot less contentious.
That's not to say that the color of tile at a dealership isn't a good arguing point when you're talking about tens of thousands of dollars. But it doesn't have the same vitriol as other issues in other years.
I remember years when the NADA convention was filled with so much animosity you could cut it with a knife.
Today, everyone seems to be headed for profitability or looking to increase profits. Things are better for the automobile retailer.
We are still several million units below the industry's best sales years, and we won't hit those levels for a while. But remember how the industry was able to squeeze out those extra millions of cars and trucks. It wasn't pretty, and it didn't make a lot of profit for anyone.
Most Japanese automakers are recovering from a year of disasters. As they continue to recover, their market share will continue to improve. And the German carmakers seem hellbent to continue their success.
The Detroit 3 want to continue their current success, which will be increasingly difficult as their offshore competitors recover. If the Detroit 3 become complacent for only a moment, they will regret it for months.
Plenty of new products and services are on display at the convention, and there is always a lot to learn at the workshops.
The NADA convention is always an exciting time for the industry. This year it came on the heels of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where there was a discernible positive buzz that continued right through this convention.
The Detroit show was filled with new products that will reach showrooms in the next few months.
There is nothing like exciting new products to keep this industry humming. It is a great time for NADA, especially since the automobile industry is well on the way to recovery.
You can reach Keith Crain at firstname.lastname@example.org.