Wednesday, 20 February 2013 22:27

TIME’s Dealer of the Year is Michael Alford, NADA Meeting Touts “Momentum” Theme

Among the most anticipated events at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in Orlando, FL, was the TIME Dealer of the Year award. TIME and Ally Financial jointly declared Michael Alford, president of Marine Chevrolet Cadillac in Jacksonville, NC, 2013 TIME Dealer of the Year.

Autobody News was alone among collision trade media invited to attend the event, which carried the theme “Momentum,” reflecting the surge in growth of the American auto industry in the past year.

More than 21,000 new-car dealers, auto industry executives and exhibitors from across the globe attend ed the convention. NADA hosted nearly 1,500 international dealers from 36 countries.

Keynote speakers included John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America; NADA Chairman Bill Underriner; inspirational speaker Mark Kelly, space shuttle commander of Endeavour’s final mission and husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords; incoming NADA Chairman David Westcott; and former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. See p. 40 for summaries of talks by Robert Gates and Mark Kelly.

For the second consecutive year, the American Truck Dealers (ATD) Convention and Expo ran concurrently with NADA.

Considered as the “automotive industry event of the year,” the NADA convention includes 26 dealer franchise meetings, more than 500 companies exhibiting on the expo floor, and between the two conventions, more than 158 workshop sessions covering 60 topics offered in eight time slots.

Tim Russi, Ally president of Auto Finance, and Brad Young, chief marketing officer for TIME, announced the Dealer of the Year winner and finalists during the formal opening ceremony of the convention.

“So many dealers are heroes in their communities because of their commitment to local charitable causes, and we are proud to support the work they do,” said Russi. “Ally has provided more than 100 grants to nonprofit organizations in connection with TIME Dealer of the Year, and we are pleased to recognize 2013 winner Michael Alford, as well as the three finalists, for the extraordinary efforts they have put forth in their communities.”

In its second year as exclusive sponsor, Ally announced that in addition to contributing $10,000 to the winner’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of choice, it will also be donating $5,000 to charities selected by each of the three regional finalists. Ally also donated $1,000 to charities selected by each of the 57 dealer nominees.

The three regional finalists for the 2013 TIME Dealer of the Year award were Dominick Carbone, director of the Carbone Auto Group in Utica, NY; Sam Mansker, president of Olathe Ford Lincoln in Olathe, KS; Bill McCurley, CEO of McCurley Integrity Dealerships, a Cadillac, Chevrolet, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru dealer in Tri-Cities, WA.

The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. Recipients are among the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service.

JD Power Roundtable Spotlight
J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.

At NADA, J.D. Power presented its Roundtable, a single day of presentations and analysis of the industry. Several of the speakers addressed the automotive industry’s leadership on the economy.

“The year is off to a fast start, which bodes well for the remainder of 2013,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “Building on the momentum the industry has been gaining over the past two years, sales remain on a trajectory to return to pre-recession levels within the next few years.”

“The global industry is looking for the United States to offset risk in Europe and potentially slower growth in the emerging markets in 2013,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “The good news is that the U.S. market is primed to over-deliver as the recovery heats up. The concern now is shifting from the continuing recovery to whether the automotive supply base will be able to keep up with hearty demand.”

LMC Automotive projects the 2013 North American production to be 15.9 million units in 2013, a three percent increase from 2012, with further upside potential contingent on the pace of demand in the first half of the year. For 2014, the North American production forecast is expected to increase to 16.6 million units.

“With inventory in check and demand remaining strong, all indications suggest that production levels—and automotive supplier profits—will be at a high pace during 2013 for North America,” said Schuster.


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