LAS VEGAS, NEV. – With the stage getting set for the dealer event of the year, a group of industry partners plan on injecting a little Great White North into the 2016 NADA Convention and Expo.
Set for March 31 at the Sayer’s Club in Las Vegas, Canada Night NAD-Eh! 2016 will play host to the hundreds of Canadian dealers and auto industry executives who make the trek to the annual event.
And while several partners are coming together to help organize the event – including Canadian AutoWorld, which has signed on as media partner – there is no doubt the effort has been spearheaded by SCI Marketview.
“Years ago, there was a Canadian-focused event but unfortunately, it fell by the wayside. We felt it was time to bring it back,” explains Alan Bird, SCI Marketview CEO and executive leader.
“While we may have started the ball rolling, we've had many Canadian industry partners join our efforts. This is not an SCI event at all but very much a Canadian industry event supporter by the Canadian vendors to promote our industry north of the border.”
The annual NADA Convention and Expo is considered the world’s largest dealer event. Often seen as a bellwether for automotive retail, it has been a cheery gathering of late as new car sales both in Canada and the U.S. have enjoyed consecutive record years.
The 2015 edition in San Francisco was virtually bursting at the seams. More than 23,000 new car and truck dealers from 52 countries descended on the city providing an audience for the more than 570 exhibitors who took booth space.
Early predictions of the 2016 show, scheduled for Mar. 31 to Apr. 4 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre, have also been positive. Online registration opened in October and experienced a 12 per cent boost over the first five days compared to the same time the previous year.
Keynote speakers included comedian Jeff Foxworthy, NADA chairman Bill Fox and NFL quarterback Peyton Manning.
Bird says the hope with NAD-Eh! is to grow from this launch year. He notes it was purposely scheduled after the J.D. Power welcome event to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy and his band will provide musical entertainment.
“This year our venue holds 250 people, so it's going to be a hot ticket, especially with the Jim Cuddy Band providing the live music. Our goal is that next year in New Orleans, it'll be twice the size and supported by twice the amount of vendors.”
Todd Bourgon, executive director of the Trillium Automobile Dealers’ Association, says the TADA was happy to sign on as a sponsor.
“We support any ideas that involve bringing dealers together and this is a great example of a home-grown solution we were happy to get behind.”
And while there will no doubt be a few people talking shop at the Sayer’s Club at the SLS Las Vegas Casino come Mar. 31, the intent was not strictly business.
“We all wanted to provide the ability for Canadians to share a drink, see who’s attending the event, enjoy some good Canadian music and catch up with industry friends,” Bird explains. “That is really the goal of the event.”