By Juliet Guerra, NADA Director of Media Relations

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our world completely, and the auto retail industry has not been immune to its impact. In October, NADA announced that NADA Show 2021 would transition to an all-virtual experience, held from Tuesday, Feb. 9, through Thursday, Feb. 11. And while dealers won’t be able to convene in-person in New Orleans, the Auto Industry Event of the Year will still go on – offering all the benefits the Show has to offer, including the opportunity for dealers to get exclusive insights into their respective brands via franchise meetings with OEM representatives.

NADA President and CEO Mike Stanton spoke about the importance of franchise meetings with Juliet Guerra, NADA Director of Media Relations. For more information on franchise meetings, including the full schedule, and to register for NADA Show 2021, please click here. Note that the live NADA Show is the only place to participate in this year’s franchise meetings—these sessions will not be recorded or saved for future viewing.

NADA hosts franchise meetings every year in-person at NADA Show. Why are these meetings important?

Dealers consistently tell us that franchise meetings are one of the top reasons for attending the Show. For many dealers, this is the only time they have a chance to directly interact with senior OEM leadership.

Given the accelerated change of pace for the industry and the country as a whole due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new President and administration, etc., senior OEM executives will be providing the latest news and what all these changes mean for the brands dealers sell. Just as importantly, dealers have the opportunity to share with OEMs what is working on the ground at their stores, and what needs improvement.

A big thanks as always to our OEM partners for participating.

What benefits have you seen come of these meetings over the years?

The dealer-OEM relationship is extremely important, especially now. Ongoing communication builds trust; now more than ever, we need to address the opportunities that lie ahead.

How will the meetings held in a virtual platform differ from past years held in-person?

Although the meetings will be held virtually, the positive engagement and ability to connect directly will be preserved in the virtual platform. What is best about the franchise meetings, including the ability for dealers to ask questions and engage in direct dialogue, won’t be lost.

Additionally, without the travel cost and time associated with these meetings, we expect broader attendance from both dealers and OEM executives.

How do franchise meetings differ from other meetings held with OEMs?

Franchise meetings are not like the OEM meetings that the automakers host through the course of the year. They are dealer meetings, and dealers invite OEMs to participate. It is a unique opportunity for dealers to set the agenda and get answers to their questions, and to discuss the importance of the relationship and how things can improve.

The meetings are also important for OEMs as well. They provide our auto manufacturer partners with an opportunity to hear directly from the dealer body who are on the front lines with customers every day.

Beyond the one-hour meeting itself, is there value of these franchise meetings for dealers?

Absolutely. Franchise meetings have become one of the many check points for dealers and OEMs to get together and help each other grow the business. Continued ongoing dialogue is important for future success.

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association