N.Y. Auto Show To Include NADA Forum


One big event around the New York International Auto Show late this month will not be at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center venue. It will be at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. A day-long auto forum at the hotel will bring some 25 top executives from the major automakers, plus dealer groups and suppliers who meet to hash out the present and future of the auto industry.

Among the auto luminaries at the March 30 forum, "Transformation of the U.S. Economy and the Auto Industry," are Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales U.S. president, and Jim Farley, Ford group VP global marketing.

Also on hand at the forum, which is sponsored by National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), and industry analysis firm Global Insight and hosted by the New York International Auto Show, will be Volkswagen Group CEO Stefan Jacoby, John Mendel, EVP of American Honda Motor Co.; and Jim O'Donnell, president of BMW of North America.



Among the speakers from the retail side: Susan Scarola, chief executive of DCH Auto Group; Earl Hesterberg, chief executive of Group 1 Automotive; and Nariman Behravesh, chief economist of IHS, Global Insight's parent company.

Albert Gallegos, director of industry analysis for NADA, says the forum is a unique event in the history of the New York show, which tends to cede such forums to Detroit and Los Angeles. "When we began thinking about this last summer, especially after all the economic turmoil, with GM and Chrysler coming out of bankruptcy, we thought it would be a good opportunity for a forum here on the transformation of the industry for the main stakeholders."

Gallegos says the audience will comprise one-third dealers, one-third OEM reps and suppliers and one-third industry analysts. He says the mood should be fairly upbeat. "We just came off of our NADA conference in Orlando, Fla., and the general mood was better than it was year ago, which is a plus. Our chief economist Paul Taylor said this will be about a 12 million unit year for the industry -- an improvement, and dealers said they see a way forward." The program will include a keynote speech by Chrysler Group chief executive Sergio Marchionne. That will be followed by the panel of automaker executives. As for whether Lentz will be a lightning rod there for questions about Toyota's problems, Gallegos says that's not likely to happen.

"He's going to be there with four other peers, and having Mike Jackson as moderator for that panel, we can focus on retail issues for the OEMs going forward. So it's really more about the lessons learned from the turmoil of last 20-plus months and how to apply that to the future," he says. "What we did successfully on this panel was to have domestics, imports, luxury and non-luxury brands, so it's a nice mix of major players."

Next story loading loading..