By Sheryll Poe, NADA Contributor

The second day of the Automotive Industry Event of the Year rolled on, kicking off bright and early with the official “seatbelt unbuckling” ceremony that marks the opening of the NADA Show Expo at the newly expanded Moscone Center in San Francisco.

NADA 2018 Chairman Wes Lutz gave remarks at the seatbelt unbuckling, noting that “dealers in today’s world are not one-dimensional….We are constantly adapting, evolving and changing, along with our customer’s needs and wants.”

Adapting and evolving was a consistent theme throughout the day, and one that Lutz expanded upon when he spoke at the NADA Show Opening General Session. “So many people want to write our narrative,” Lutz told the auditorium packed with dealers, managers, and allied industry members. “Don’t let others write what’s ahead of us because we are the authors of that book.”

There were plenty of lessons for the more than 22,000 attendees to reflect upon: Friday was jam-packed with workshops, educational sessions, peer-to-peer Exchange roundtables, and speeches from business world all-stars.

In addition, NADA experts and leaders shared words of wisdom, thoughts about the state of the economy, and unveiled new coalitions and industry initiatives, including the next phase of the NADA Foundation Workforce Initiative.

An exciting day of programming concluded with the announcement of the 50th annual Time Magazine Dealer of the Year – John Alfirevich of Apple Chevrolet in Tinley Park, Illinois.

Leadership Lessons

“The people who are closest to the action; the employees, the sales team, the service techs, they know what the right decision is for the business long before the leaders do,” said Kat Cole, COO and president of FOCUS Brands North America, a portfolio of eight food and retail brands worth $3 billion. Cole, former president of one of FOCUS’s most successful subsidiaries, Cinnabon, spoke at the General Session on how to lead with resilience in times of change and achieving excellence through managing tough decisions and impactful innovations that will result in long-term gains.

Economic Updates

Earlier in the day, ATD Chairwoman Jodie Teuton told ATD Show attendees that while 2018 had been a challenging year for the commercial trucking industry, it was also a great year for the economy and sales. “2018 was one of the best year’s we’ve had in the truck industry.”

All indicators—sales volume, orders and freight growth—suggest 2019 will also be a great year for the industry, Teuton said. As a result, the industry remains, “tireless, passionate and optimistic bunch and yes, of course, we’re tough.”

The Future is Our People

The long-term success of both the automotive and commercial truck industries relies on the future workforce, Teuton said. That’s why both NADA and ATD have joined together to support the NADA Foundation’s Workforce Initiative. “We sell trucks, but we’re in the people business,” Teuton said, while noting that the initiative will target future service technicians with the goal of “making sure that every training facility is full of future technicians.”

Missed the first day? Read a recap of day one.

Stay up to date on sessions, recaps, 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 FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association