For auto dealers, the Magic Kingdom is just another roadside attraction.
It seems like a sober crowd. I've lost count of the number of times people used the phrase "wall-to-wall meetings" to describe their visit.
After covering NADA conventions in Las Vegas, New Orleans and San Francisco, one expects some, um, hijinks.
"I'm trolling for business," said Group 1's Earl Hesterberg, who was eyeing the dealers in the crowd at the J.D. Power and Associates conference. Hesterberg looked like the cat that had swallowed a canary. He recently bought a Lexus dealership in New Hampshire. "Like finding a needle in a haystack," he quipped.
I spoke with Lithia's Sid DeBoer over dinner. Sid's in the market for Chrysler dealerships. Lexus franchises are just too pricey, he said.
Toyota's Jim Press jetted down to Orlando after introducing his new Tundra pickup at the Chicago Auto Show. Press is taking his daily swim, followed by - you guessed it - wall-to-wall meetings. What will he do for fun? "My job is swimming; my hobby is Toyota," he replied.
Ford's Jim Padilla and his wife, Alice, schmoozed with dealers at a company shindig at the Ritz-Carlton Friday night. Jim said he got a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy for Christmas. Now he's taking lessons so he can ride it.
Padilla said he won't have time this trip to stop at his place in Sarasota. Wall-to-wall meetings, you know.
You may e-mail David Sedgwick at [email protected]