Auto dealers are investing to make their stores more customer-friendly, yet vehicle shoppers are visiting fewer dealerships. Meanwhile, third-party shopping sites are proliferating, helping arm consumers with data before they step into showrooms.
Three experts with rich backgrounds in auto retailing will discuss the convergence of these trends and what they mean for the future during next month's Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.
Speakers for the Jan. 14 afternoon panel discussion will be:
- Mike Accavitti, general manager of American Honda's Acura Division. Earlier in his career, he spent 25 years at Chrysler, including a stint as head of Dodge.
- Jared Rowe, president of AutoTrader.com, the largest third-party Internet vehicle shopping site. His previous career stops include Kelley Blue Book, FordDirect, Autobytel and Central Atlantic Toyota Distributors.
- Raj Sundaram, co-president of Dealertrack Technologies, a leading provider of financial services software to dealers. He came to Dealertrack after it acquired Automotive Lease Guide, where he was president. Sundaram formerly worked at Ford and Nissan.
They join a roster of executives that includes Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, who will speak the afternoon of Jan. 13; Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, the opening night keynoter on Jan. 13; and General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who will deliver the keynote address on Jan. 14.