Exhibitor, attendee registrations both up ahead of 2012 NADA Convention

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The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) says the fact exhibitor space is sold out for the 2012 Convention and Expo is a sign of the growing strength of the auto industry.

Often considered to be a bellwether of the overall health of North American automotive retail, the convention has nearly 500 companies exhibiting on more than 1 million square feet of floor space at the Las Vegas Convention Center. That tally marks a 30 per cent increase in the total number of exhibitors from the 2011 convention.

“Booth space for exhibitors is busting at the seams, which is another indicator the auto industry is showing signs of recovery,” said Steve Pitt, NADA vice president of conventions and expositions. “We have a growing waiting list of companies that want to exhibit.”

Additionally, convention registration is up nearly 20 per cent for the February event and six convention hotels in Las Vegas have already sold out.

NADA reps say 120 companies will be exhibiting for the first time, though some of the growth should be attributed to the inclusion of the American Truck Dealers (ATD) Convention and Expo, will be held in conjunction with the NADA convention for the first time.

NADA University says it has an extensive list of workshops scheduled for dealers and managers. Topics this year include executive leadership, managing your resources, legal and regulatory, parts, service, Internet solutions, and sales, leasing and finance.

For thousands of the nation’s new-car and truck dealers, the convention is also a rare opportunity early in the year to meet with industry leaders and OEM representatives. The full schedule of dealer franchise meetings is available online.

Convention attendees are encouraged to log on to myNADAplanner, an online tool that connects buyers and sellers on the expo floor. It also provides an advanced look at the exhibitor list, as well as advertised show specials that will be available on the expo floor.

Keynote speakers this year include former U.S. President George W. Bush and Aron Ralston, mountain climber and the inspiration for the feature film, 127 Hours.

The convention runs Feb. 3 to 6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Attendees should also note the show will close early on Sunday Feb. 5 due to the Superbowl.

For more information or to register for the 2012 NADA-ATD convention, visit www.nadaconventionandexpo.org.