There is an unusually large contingent of Ford Motor Co.'s top brass in town to bond with the company's dealers - especially Ford brand dealers, who are anxious about what will replace the much maligned Blue Oval certification program next year.
Expect a discussion at the Ford make meeting tomorrow.
By the way, some Ford dealers are still on the muscle regarding the role of J.D. Power and Associates as an auditor under the Blue Oval program.
Dealers are peeved at Dave Power because of comments he made about the future of the franchise system in The Wall Street Journal in October. They would like to have his company ousted as Blue Oval auditor, and Ford execs say they haven't decided.
Heading the Ford contingent at the convention is COO Nick Scheele, who has made repairing the Blue Oval situation a priority.
Vice Chairman Allan Gilmour, a dealer, spoke at the American Financial Services Association conference yesterday. Board member and longtime friend of dealers Edsel Ford II headlined the Salute to Dealers reception yesterday at the Paris Hotel.
And Jim O'Connor, group vice president of North America sales, plus Ford Division President Steve Lyons and Lincoln Mercury President Darryl Hazel are in Las Vegas, as are officials from the Premier Automotive Group brands.
Executive Vice President Jim Padilla, in charge of North America and South America, and Joe Laymon, vice president of corporate human resources, were at the Ford Lincoln Mercury Minority Dealer Association reception Thursday night.
Anne Stevens, group vice president for Canada, Mexico and South America, will be honored at the Automotive Hall of Fame luncheon tomorrow.
There are other Ford execs in town who don't usually get involved with retailing.
Executive Vice President David Thursfield, who is in charge of international operations and purchasing, spoke at the J.D. Power International Automotive Roundtable yesterday at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Sue Cischke, vice president for environmental and safety engineering, is announcing a safe-driving program.
Missing is CEO Bill Ford, who will be at the Super Bowl in Houston in connection with his family's ownership of the Detroit Lions.