The Canadian auto dealer team took Dallas by storm for three very busy days
From the moment we touched down in Dallas, The NADA Show was a flurry of activity for the Canadian auto dealer team. With a full schedule of exciting speakers and professional and social events, the convention had something for everyone in the auto industry.
This year’s show featured over 500 exhibitors, and more than 100 sessions in various formats, from workshops to more intimate roundtable discussions. The event kicked off in high gear on Thursday evening at country music mecca Gilley’s, with the NADA Show Roundup welcome reception featuring Grammy Award-winning country music superstar Brad Paisley. Denim and cowboy attire abounded in the appreciative crowd, some of whom even bravely took on the mechanical bull outside.
Friday morning was the opening of the Expo and the Main Stage, where distinguished speakers like former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (and now U.S. Presidential candidate) and NADA Chairman Michael Alford spoke before the TIME Dealer of the Year, Gary Rome, was announced.
The Canadian auto dealer team was scrambling over the next two days, and met with more than 20 different companies for interviews, as well as stopping by countless other booths to see what was new and exciting in the automotive world. We talked with many DMS providers, including CDK Global, who talked about their new partnership with Hyundai; 360.AGENCY, whose President Louis-Yves Cloutier took some time with us to shoot a video and talk all about their brand-new DRX 360 consolidated product, which was announced live on Facebook at the show.
We also sat down at the huge Tekion booth, where Pieter Van Der Griend told us about their new vehicle locator, and how Tekion is poised to become one of the first global DMS platforms.
At the Reynolds and Reynolds booth we heard about the company’s progress this year and their new branding, reflecting their renewed commitment to providing their customers with the most modern and efficient service. At family-owned PBS, Kevin Preston talked about the success of their under-the-radar approach, and their record-breaking year for new installations. The PBS client-appreciation cocktail party on Saturday night was a highlight of the NADA social scene.
Rounding up the DMS providers we saw, at the Calgary-based company Quorum’s booth, we talked about the modularity of their product and how it is standalone, but can also be perfectly integrated into existing systems.
We also saw the Keyloop team out and about, as they met with their loyal customers and talked all about their exciting new expansion, including the acquisition of Rapid RTC and Serti. We have a great interview with the Keyloop team in this issue.
DMS providers were far from the only exhibitors at the Show. There was a strong contingent of F&I companies as well, and the very first booth we visited for an interview was AutoVerify, where Randy Price told us all about the new digital retailing tool they are showcasing, called Car Media. This new vehicle image capture software now includes a new 360 media player tool that allows dealers to create their own custom photo, video, and condition hot spots. It includes Car Media’s proprietary editing and background replacement which ensures 100 per cent brand compliance.
We dropped by the SiriusXM booth, where we learned that SiriusXM is now available in over 80 per cent of all new vehicles sold, and SiriusXM subscriptions are available to customers buying New, CPO and Pre-Owned vehicles nationwide.
We also made a visit to Market Scan, where Carsten Priesz talked about his company’s B2B reselling tool, and how Market Scan’s data helps retailers determine exactly which models are selling where, and which models may need to be incentivized.
Equifax was next on our F&I journey, where Russell Wicks explained Equifax’s evolution from being a simple credit filing company, to the holistic data provider that it is for retailers and software suppliers today.
Data and research providers were also showing off their products at the convention. Patrick Olsen at the CARFAX USA booth talked about how they were signing up dealers to their popular service, but mostly they were teaching current customers how to use their product better, particularly focusing on their new Vehicle History Reports functionality.
J.D. Power was there in full force, with an Old West-themed booth that was very busy with dealers learning all about the company’s Power Information Network (PIN) program. J.D. Power Canada’s Robert Karwell gave us a look at the useful new dealer-facing tool, PowerDealer, which the company provides to dealers in exchange for access to the dealer’s sales data. It is a very useful tool for dealers to help make marketing decisions, and is at no cost to them.
“This year’s show featured over 500 exhibitors, and more than 100 sessions in various formats, from workshops to more intimate roundtable discussions.”
Innovative digital marketing solutions also abounded on the show floor. We got to chat with PureCars’s Kate Colacelli about their AutoMiner customer data platform, which gives dealers access to leading-edge advertising technology for sales, service, or parts. PureCars has also just partnered with Spotify for a new type of advertising.
The Carbeeza team of Michael Dunham and Nick Samaha was there, talking about their tools that use fintech to help Carbeeza harness the power of A.I. to accurately predict a shopper’s best financing scenario, and directing them to a dealer that can sell them that vehicle.
DAS Technology, formerly known as Digital Air Strike, had a booth that you could not miss, with each team member wearing fluorescent orange runners that they were also giving away at the event. Alexi Venneri chatted with us about how DAS began as a way to enable dealers to monetize social networks organically, but evolved to include over 30 touchpoints to nurture and improve the customer journey. DAS has continued to build out its data integration partners to 189, including Amazon, Google, and many top OEMs, plus 35 CRM and dealer software systems. As usual, DAS Technology had the most exciting and fun after party, which featured Nelly and the Sugarhill Gang.
We stopped by the Podium booth and talked with Jack Mata about Podium’s customer communication strategy that uses one single tool. Texts, webchats, social media messages, and now phone calls—all in one easy-to-use inbox. We also chatted with LESA Canada’s Dan Paras, a Canadian Hyundai dealer who was so impressed with the LESA automotive video sales platform that he partnered with the company to bring it to Canada.
On the equipment side of things, we got to visit the huge Hunter Engineering booth, and see the always engaging John Peron, who talked about the launch of the new tire changer called Maverick, and the updates to Hunter’s wheel balancing software. He also introduced us to the HunterNet2 software, which tracks equipment use, to give dealers the precise return on investment for their machines in each store. This service comes with the equipment and supports the most profitable centres in the service department.
At the end of the day Sunday, we got on airplanes home, full of new information, having met new colleagues and reconnected with old ones, looking forward to NADA 2024 in Las Vegas!