The overriding message from the 2016 AADA National Dealer Convention was that today’s consumer is looking for an ‘experience’ and those businesses providing the most engaging experiences will attract the most customers.

Almost 1,000 delegates (972 to be precise) attended the Convention, not far short of last year’s record of 1,056.


Those who attended heard that the number one driver of the retail automotive industry has, in just three years, changed from emerging markets to connectivity.

Keynote speaker, Mazda Australia Managing Director Martin Benders, spoke of the need to adapt to changing trends and customer desires or be left behind.

AADA CEO David Blackhall used his decades of experience to address the industry’s changing face, including the importance of advocacy now that Australian manufacturing is ending and Dealers are set to play a more prominent role in terms of investment.


An expert panel, featuring Mr Blackhall, AADA chairman Terry Keating, FCAI CEO Tony Weber and AMDC chairman Doug Dickson, discussed the most pressing issues confronting automotive Dealers and pointed out that, with the demise of automotive manufacturing in this country, Dealers were now and should represent as the Australian automotive industry.

Demographer Bernard Salt highlighted the changing demographics of the marketplace, with Baby Boomers to remain the segment with the most money to spend, and the continued rise of China ensuring Australia remains a prosperous nation.

Randy Berlin and David Cain from Urban Science told Dealers that they had to change the metrics they used to measure performance to increase their ‘share of voice’ in the advertising/marketing space.

They challenged Dealers to use scientific methods to analyse the data they already have and come up with expected outcomes, as well as looking at performance differently.

Deloitte Motor Industry Services provided a snapshot of the current state of the industry.

Gregg Manson told service managers that the key to growing loyalty and profits was upgrading the service experience. David Tully of Google explained why ‘the online experience’ is so vital in attracting customers to enter the physical dealership.

Dimitri Kotov talked about how Dealers need to use social media or be left behind, emphasising the shift from ‘like-centric’ to ‘lead-centric’ marketing.

Special guest speaker Paul Cummings shared his passion for sales, while Lloyd Schiller provided a blueprint for how to increase efficiency in the service department.

JD Power experts Loi Truong and Mohit Arora explained what delights and what frustrates the customers, and why it is so vital to do the former and avoid the latter.

There was something for every aspect of the dealership business to help in ‘Building Better Outcomes’, from sales to service, to aftermarket sales, social media marketing and more, including the largest ever Trade Expo featuring dozens of innovative new products designed to make life easier and more profitable for Dealers.

AADA was thrilled with the attendance and pleased that so many took so much away from the event.


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