By Sheryll Poe, NADA Contributor

More than 22,000 people from all aspects of the automotive retail sector descended on San Francisco on Thursday as NADA Show 2019 and the concurrent American Truck Dealers (ATD) Show kicked off.

Billed as the “Automotive Industry Event of the Year,” the NADA Show includes keynote speakers, educational workshops, dealer franchise meetings, an Expo with hundreds of exhibitors and networking opportunities everywhere you turn.

U.S. new-car dealers and commercial-truck dealers and their managers, international dealers from 37 countries, automaker executives, exhibitor staff, allied industry professionals and media assembled at the newly expanded Moscone Center to attend education sessions on the latest auto industry topics, meet up with the industry’s best and brightest, and test out innovative products, services and technologies specifically targeted to franchised new car dealerships.

NADA Gives Back

While Thursday is the first day of NADA Show 2019 programming, the excitement really started earlier in the week, as NADA continued its long history of supporting local organizations in cities that host its annual show. This year, NADA donated $50,000 to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank to assist with the purchase of a new, refrigerated commercial truck that will be used for pickups and deliveries in the food bank’s network of 270 pantries.

Expert-Led Workshops, Peer-to-Peer Learning

Education is a big focus at NADA Show 2019, and day 1 kicked off with an all new orientation session for first-time attendees.

A highly-anticipated Super Session later in the day featured leaders from Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Peter Leto, head of industry—automotive retail sales at Google; Jessica Roberts, head of retail automotive at Facebook; and Gregory Garber, client solutions manager at Twitter provided insights on how the three digital giants are disrupting the automotive retail marketplace. “Data is power. It’s what can differentiate your marketing today,” Leto told a jam-packed session room (and overflow room).  When it comes to finding customers, “we no longer have to guess who we are targeting anymore,” said Leto. “We’re able to help you find that needle in the haystack.”

The Super Session was followed by the first of NADA Show’s education sessions and peer-to-peer Exchange sessions that dive into every trend, issue and update affecting dealerships today –all chosen by NADA Show attendees.

Among the 60-plus workshop topics and 120 sessions offered NADA Show this year, 16 sessions will be presented by NADA’s own experts, including sessions previewing the new NADA Professional Series. For example, on Thursday, NADA Instructor Georgia Munson led two education sessions focused on inventory forecasting and management. The average dealer in North America is holding on to $4.3 million in excess inventory, Munson said in the “Protecting Your Dealership’s Biggest Asset” session.

Be sure to download the NADA Show mobile app to learn about more of these expert-led sessions. Download the app from Google Play or the iTunes App Store.

Meanwhile, the NADA Show Distinguished Speaker series features luminaries who share their lessons on leadership, culture, team building and training. On Thursday, the U.S. Navy’s first female F-14 fighter pilot Carey Lohrenz spoke about what “fearless leadership” looks like and how to build high-performance teams in fast-paced, high-pressure environments. “It’s going to take each and every single person on your team to be a fearless leader,” Lohrenz said. “You have to get aligned and move forward quickly.”

Looking Ahead to Day 2

The auto industry’s premier marketplace, The NADA Show Expo opens on Friday, January 25 and will take full advantage of the new Moscone Center exhibit space. Started in November 2014, the Moscone expansion added more than 157,000 gross square feet of flexible meeting space to Moscone North and South, increasing the center’s total exhibit space to more than 504,000 square feet.

Don’t miss a single day! Stay up to date on sessions, photos and videos with our official daily show recaps and be sure to follow all things NADA Show on social media using the hashtag #NADASHOW on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association