Despite the criticism it endured for the eventual outcome, NADA and its leaders deserve credit for standing up for dealers during the thousands of General Motors and Chrysler dealership terminations in 2009, says Dave Regan, the association's executive vice president of legislative affairs.
In February 2008, I began my term as NADA chairman. Mention that year to people in the auto industry, and their facial expressions will reveal the challenges it presented.
NADA held its first annual meeting in 1918 in Chicago, adding an exhibition in 1948, again in Chicago. Since World War II, the convention has traveled to 14 cities, with the exhibition functioning largely as a hardware and equipment show.
A look at key themes of each post-World War II NADA Convention shows many reappear frequently. A few, though, have largely disappeared.
There have been a host of big names at NADA conventions through the years. Here are a few of them.
There is little doubt that the yearly NADA conclave serves as a family reunion for the retail side of the auto business. At NADA, you see people you don't see anywhere else.
NADA's convention and exposition this month will kick off the celebration of the association's 100th anniversary. New Orleans is hosting the annual convention for the 12th time since 1973.
Some of the biggest news stories in the industry have broken during NADA's annual convention. Here are some examples from recent decades.
During the 1985 NADA convention in San Francisco, curious dealers boarded chartered buses to a broadcast studio. They wanted to see the communist-built car touted by Malcolm Bricklin, the man who had introduced Subaru vehicles to the United States.
In early 1989, with the Yugo's best sales years behind it, ace promoter Malcolm Bricklin used the NADA Convention in New Orleans to showcase not a new vehicle to be imported from wherever, but the prototype of a futuristic “closing booth.”
Dealers always have had concerns they wanted to share with key factory executives. From this objective, the franchise meeting -- also known as a make meeting -- was born at NADA's convention in 1958.
Deciding which of the hundreds of consultants will be invited to lead workshops at an NADA convention is no simple task.
For almost half a century, the Time Dealer of the Year Award has been one of the most prestigious awards a dealer can win.
A look at some of the parties at NADA conventions past. All photos by Joe Wilssens