ORLANDO, FLA. – The National Automobile Dealers’ Association picked the perfect theme for its 2013 convention and expo.
Scheduled for the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida this weekend, the annual gathering of suppliers, dealers and manufacturers is often considered to be a bellwether of the overall health of North American automotive retail market.
Given the steady growth in retail sales and building on three straight years of increased attendance at the annual show, organizers could not have chosen a more appropriate theme than momentum.
“We have a little over 300,000 square feet of floor space this year it is sold out,” explained Connie Mikels, director of expositions for NADA. “We have a wait list of about 50 companies hoping to exhibit. This is all looking very good for the 2013 show.”
Attendees can expect to see roughly 550 companies on the show floor, which includes the American Truck Dealers Convention and Exposition.
“Registrations are a little behind compared to last year but we expect that to change.”
The NADA story began in 1917 when 30 auto dealers traveled to Washington, D.C. to convince the U.S. Congress not to impose a luxury tax on the automobile.
They successfully argued the automobile is a necessity of American life, not a luxury. From that experience was born the NADA. Today, NADA represents nearly 16,000 new-car and new-truck dealerships with 32,500 franchises both domestic and international.
The NADA annual meetings have become the largest automotive industry event of the year and the world's largest international gathering place for franchised new-vehicle dealers.
“The convention offers dealers a rare chance to meet face-to-face with executives of major auto manufacturers and features hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the latest equipment, services and technologies and dozens of workshops with the industry's best trainers,” the NADA said.
Canadian registrations make up the largest portion of international registrations. According to NADA’s Melissa Wolpert, the 2012 show in Las Vegas drew 783 Canadians. The San Francisco show in 2011 drew 515.
The February show also marks the NADA’s return to Orlando after a dismal turnout in early 2010. At that time, the Great Recession was in full swing and both Chrysler and General Motors had recently announced reductions in dealership numbers in Canada and the U.S.