DETROIT -- Breaking with tradition, the National Automobile Dealers Association will move its annual convention in 2016 to April from its customary date in February, incoming NADA Chairman Bill Underriner said.
The date change is part of a broad review of the convention by NADA's long-range planning committee, which Underriner, 60, chaired this past year as NADA vice chairman.
The April 2016 event will be held in Las Vegas, as will this year's convention, which begins Feb. 3. But changing the date may allow NADA to look beyond its "core cities" of Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco and New Orleans for future conventions, Underriner said on the sidelines of the Automotive News World Congress.
"The reason we stick with our core cities is weather," he said. "If we change the date of the convention and take it later in the year, we're going to have some more places we can go."
Underriner said NADA is looking at all aspects of how to improve the event, not just the date and location.
"What does the convention need to look like in the next five or 10 years? What we do today -- is it relevant to the next five or 10 years? How can we attract more people? Are the workshops going to look the same?
"We've talked to dealers. We've hired Freeman, which does our convention, to talk to the vendors. We want to talk" to the automakers and the people who come to the convention, Underriner said, "to find out what they like and don't like."
He predicted some changes will show up at the 2013 convention in Orlando.
"We're not blowing it up," he said, "but we're sure going to make a dent."