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Tuesday, January 30, 2007 

Vol. 3 No. 2

Time for the Annual 2006 in Review (or how I put all on all those air miles…): Part II

Okay, so continuing from where we left off…

July – July topped off my all time favorite manufacturer fleet show, the annual Ford Fleet Preview in Las Vegas, NV, July 23-25th. While Ford, consistently produces the best of the manufacturer fleet shows every year this one, in particular, seemed the best I’ve attended so far, with the keynote of Mark Fields, Executive Vice President and President of the Americas, laying out Ford’s fleet strategy, not to mention Jay Leno as the private entertainment for the fleet folks. If the quality of the fleet offering is any indication, Ford’s rebound is well charted and underway.

This year the Ford Fleet show was followed immediately by the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA) mid-year roundtable July 26th -28th, in San Diego, CA. My old friend Layne Weber, Vice President of Remarketing for Donlen Corporation, being given the IARA Remarketing Industry Recognition Award was the high point for me, and something not to be missed.

August – This month brought something brand new to my car conference agenda, although it was the European Networking Group’s 3rd Annual Executive Summit, it’s the first one I ever attended. Entitled “Next Generation Automotive CRM,” it was August 15th -16th in Manhattan Beach, CA, and well worth attending again – watching Ralph Paglia,CRM/eBusiness Director, Courtesy Chevrolet, outline his Internet retail sales strategy alone was worth the price of admission.

September – Of course, September always is the month my favorite (and longest consecutive attendance, this conference marks my 20th year) trade association, the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA), holds their annual conference, this year September 12-15, in Rancho Mirage, CA. Although this conference, in 20 years has never disappointed me, this year seemed extra special, headlined by John Davis, the host and creator of Motor Week on PBS, and crammed full of great presentations. Of course, on top of all of the scheduled events, we continued our tradition of throwing a little party of our own for a few hundred of our closest friends…The AFLA conference always turns out to be my favorite convention of the year, not only for the program schedule but because I get to catch up with all of the good friends that have been involved in the organization for many, many years.

October – Not sure what happened to October this year, I’m sure I traveled somewhere, but not to any conferences…

November – Okay, so I think we made up for the lack of conferences in October with the first week or two in November. The month started off, with the JD Power International Internet Roundtable 2.0, November 1st – 3rd, that happens simultaneously with the SEMA show, in Las Vegas, NV. Charlie Vogelheim successfully focused this Roundtable on Internet developments for the first time last year, and this year’s conference was even better that last year’s amazing event. Then, a few days later, still in Las Vegas, the DealerTrack organization did their first ever “Innovation Conference” for automotive retailers on November. 6th – 8th, and right after, and in conjunction with, DealerTrack’s function, the annual grand daddy of “F & I” events, Bobit Business Media’s F & I Management and Technology Conference and Expo began and concluded November 10th.

December – Not too much going on as far as conferences or seminars, and I think, for as many days of functions in Las Vegas last month, it was good to sit this holiday month out a bit…

Once again, to be in this line of work you have to like cars and car people, and, of course, love Las Vegas….

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