Notes from the NADA Convention and Expo

Manhole marketing

Posted 1:22 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 27
Manhole marketing
 
DealerMatch, a sibling company to Manheim, came up with an unusual place for its ads at the NADA convention: Manhole covers painted blue and white, located on sidewalks near the convention center in New Orleans. There were at least two, maybe more.
-- Arlena Sawyers

11th-hour class

Posted 1:47 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 27
11th-hour class
 
Foot traffic may be thinning on the show floor, but seats are filled at a Dominion Dealer Solutions presentation.
-- Dave Versical

Dealers feeling flush

Posted 1:46 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
Dealers feeling flush
(DAVE GUILFORD)
 
Salespeople at the Piper Aircraft and Eclipse displays say they're seeing strong traffic from dealers hankering for a private plane.

Verde rides again

Posted 7:47 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
Verde rides again
 
Joe Verde, of Joe Verde Group in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., tests out the Harley-Davidson motorcycle that he won with a bid of $27,000, in an auction by ADESA on the show floor. The money, along with a $10,000 grant from NADA's charitable foundation, was presented to the Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence. Verde won a Harley in last year's auction also.
-- Krishnan M. Anantharaman

Feeling lucky?

Posted 5:58 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
Feeling lucky?
 
Sentry Insurance is offering a basket of $200 in $2 bills in a drawing.
-- Jamie LaReau

Busy booth

Posted 5:55 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
Busy booth
 
Dealertrack's booth at NADA has been packed all weekend, with attendees getting one-on-one tutorials.

Express services

Posted 5:17 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
Express services
 
Two rivals in the world of selling express service systems to dealerships -- Service Operations Specialists and Bosch Automotive Service Solutions -- found themselves side by side on the show floor. Both featured live demos beneath digital clocks in 10-minute countdowns. Here, a technician at the Bosch display completes a tire rotation.
-- Dave Versical

Rooftop Party

Posted 3:37 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
Rooftop Party
 
Dealer Steve Germain, who has 19 stores in Ohio, Florida and Michigan, is revving up for his fifth straight "partner appreciation" wing ding tonight on the rooftop of the Monteleone Hotel. It's become a cool NADA tradition. Rather than just attending parties thrown by vendors, Germain decided in 2010 to host one for them each year at the convention -- a chance for the Dale Pollaks and Chip Kings of the world to be feted by an appreciative dealer.
-- Richard Johnson

Horizontal Haven

Posted 3:31 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
Horizontal Haven
 
Show attendees tune out on Amethyst Biomats at the NADA lifestyle pavilion.
-- Dave Versical

Alternative transportation

Posted 6:44 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Alternative transportation
 
Friday was a rough travel night, with sub-freezing temperatures and icy conditions descending on New Orleans after dark. For showgoers fed up with airline delays and cancellations, there was this temptation from Piper.
-- Krishnan M. Anantharaman

Hall of Fame talent

Posted 6:42 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Hall of Fame talent
 
Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young signs autographs at the AutoAlert display.
-- Krishnan M. Anantharaman

Session is over, let's hit the town

Posted 6:03 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Session is over, let's hit the town
 
Day One is done. Conventioneers leave the exhibition hall at 5 p.m.

Something strange in the neighborhood

Posted 5:35 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Something strange in the neighborhood
 
Last year it was Doc's DeLorean from "Back to the Future." This year, Automotive Warranty Network's display features Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters' car, on loan from Bob's Propshop, a Dallas outfit specializing in "props from your favorite '80s sci-fi movies." What's the connection between warranties and Ghostbusters? Says Drew Marshall, sales and marketing manager for AWN: "We can't find any."

Working half the time?

Posted 2:35 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Working half the time?
 
How hard does the top broker at the biggest dealership buy-sell consultant in the country have to work? Well, Bob Morris, the burly ex-Cleveland area dealer at Tim Lamb Group, says: "I'm down to working half a day now." It's true. Check out his business card.
-- Richard Johnson

Floor space at a premium

Posted 1:12 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Floor space at a premium
 
The main concourse goes on forever -- well, almost. In a quick conversation Friday, incoming NADA chair Forrest McConnell said vendor floor space was sold out with several companies on a waiting list. If you're looking for a positive sign about auto industry optimism, that's one.
-- Dave Guilford

Material change

Posted 1:02 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Material change
 
Ford's display is much ado about preparing dealers for the 2015 aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup.
-- Dave Versical

Does my HMO cover this?

Posted 12:58 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Does my HMO cover this?
 
It's a full-body scan of the vehicle, before the car wash starts. Using a network of 42 photo sensors, D&S Car Wash Systems' $80,000 IQ Soft-Touch detects the precise outlines of the car (including the brief case I placed on top of the test vehicle) to calibrate the exact path, pressure and direction of the brushes and get into every last crevice, including that pesky area around the rear license plate. COO Jerry Canfield says police love it for their squad cars.
-- Krishnan M. Anantharaman

Bonus NADA tutorial

Posted 12:38 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Bonus NADA tutorial
 
NADA's announcement Friday of a plan to help dealers avoid lending discrimination charges has prompted a bonus tutorial.
-- Dave Versical

Volvo dealers have plenty to talk about

Posted 12:13 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Volvo dealers have plenty to talk about
 
Volvo dealer attendance at the 2014 convention is significantly up, says Tony Nicolosi, the new U.S. boss. About 150 representatives of Volvo stores are here. Of course, there is new product to talk about, a new facilities program, a new ad agency, and all the excitement of the Big Easy. But the new management team appears to have been a big attraction as well -- and not just Nicolosi. Dealers are anxious to here from Bodil Eriksson, the Swedish executive who has been Volvo's North American marketing and communications chief for the past week and a half. Pictured, left-to-right: sales boss Rick Bryant, Nicolosi and Erika.
-- Richard Johnson

Running late for New Orleans

Posted 12:00 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Running late for New Orleans
 
Subaru's top execs were due into New Orleans on Friday, but their flight out of  Orlando was cancelled. They were in Florida to do a little executive training (featuring bumper cars). Alas, U.S. boss Tom Doll (pictured), marketing chief Dean Evans and sales boss Bill Cyphers rolled into the W Hotel Saturday morning, ready for action
-- Richard Johnson

Really, really, big fans

Posted 12:05 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
Really, really, big fans
 
The name of this vendor is a tribute to ... umm ... donkeys, but the idea for using massive ceiling fans to better ventilate industrial spaces, warehouses and dealer service garages actually came from dairy farms. "Happy cows produce more milk," says Donnie Gillespie, national account manager for Big Ass Fans, which got into the automotive sector about three years ago and now has fans installed in more than 2,000 U.S. dealerships. Gillespie, cooling in the breeze of a 16-foot-diameter fan, says the company's biggest model is a 24-footer, suitable for a Wal-Mart distribution center (or perhaps Marine One?).
-- Krishnan M. Anantharaman

New Orleans jazz -- on the show floor

Posted 10:22 am U.S. ET, Jan. 25
New Orleans jazz -- on the show floor
 
It wouldn't be New Orleans without live jazz on the NADA convention show floor.
-- Dave Versical

Getting ready for showtime

Posted 1:14 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 24
Getting ready for showtime
 
Exhibits still taking shape, with 21 hours to go before the show floor opens.
-- Dave Versical

Eye in the sky

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 24
Eye in the sky
 
Will Sampson maneuvers a Phantom Quadcopter. Sampson works with Oscar Einzig, a Chicago company hired by NADA to do the show's photography. The copter, which carries a tiny video camera, had just descended from a shoot high above the registration area. Once the exhibit hall opens, the copter will provide aerial images of the floor.
-- Dave Versical
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