AADA Executive Director of Operations, Brian Savage, has just returned from Las Vegas where he attended the 2018 NADA Show.

The NADA show incorporates the Dealer Convention and Expo, attracting 23,000 registered attendees. It included a large international contingency along with over 500 exhibitors in what is the biggest show of its kind in the world.

“Several industry issues were placed under the spotlight at the show, but one of the most commonly discussed – and the subject of many formal presentations – was the effect on Dealers of the disruption currently occurring in the automotive sector,” said Brian.

“Disruptive technologies, such as vehicle electrification, autonomous vehicles and the emerging ride-sharing platforms, are all seen as significant threats to the franchise Dealer model,” he said.

The good news is that while new car Dealers will have to prepare for these changes and adapt their business models to suit, the industry experts do not believe these disruptions spell the end of the franchised new car Dealer. On the contrary, most see them as an opportunity for Dealers to enter new areas of the market.

Underpinning this view is data obtained through studies conducted across many parts of the world, including the US and Europe, that show consumers still want to own their own cars, have no overwhelming desire to be driven around by an autonomous vehicle, and still hold concerns about the range and charge times of electric vehicles.

“No one is suggesting that these technologies and market trends will not arrive, but the key message here is that, when they do, Dealers will continue to play a part in delivering them, just as they have for the last 100 years.”

This encouraging message was repeated by 2018 NADA Chairman, Wes Lutz, who in his opening address at the show commented that, “just because a new system pops up it doesn’t mean the old one is dead, and just because technology changes it doesn’t mean that a car’s usefulness is gone”.

However, despite the positive messages, Dealers in the US and other developed international markets continue to find challenges in manufacturer relationships and, by extension, franchise agreements, margin compression and continual intervention by government and regulators.

Without exception, Dealers in the US and across the world look to their respective industry associations to help them work through these issues and deliver positive outcomes for consumers and Dealer franchisees.

Brian’s final takeaway from the show was the huge amount that delegates learned about disruption and how to deal with it.

“Certainly those who attended the show are now vastly better equipped to deal with the changes already under way. I would highly recommend Australian Dealers attend this year’s AADA Convention to arm themselves to prosper in the developing market,” said Brian.

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