NACE/CARS 2016 has abundance of offerings at new West Coast venue
North Richland Hills, Texas—The International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) and Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) will be at the Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim, Calif., Aug. 9-13. It marks the first time the event has been offered west of Las Vegas.
Although its Detroit location for the past two years likely factored in its strong support from OEMs, they have increased their support for the West Coast event, said Dan Risley, president/CEO of ASA, sponsor of NACE/CARS.
“ASA has had a long tradition of a good working relationship with OEMs in multiple areas on both the collision and mechanical sides,” Risley said. “As we continue to reinvent NACE/CARS and the trade show experience, we believe that the car manufacturers need to be at the epicenter.”
As technology in newer vehicles rapidly advances, collision and mechanical repairers need to attend each year to get all of the required repair information in one spot, he said.
“In the ’80s and ’90s, when NACE/CARS was wildly popular, people had to go to see the latest frame machine or what special CCC was going to have on their latest estimating system. Shops don’t need to do that anymore. They come to you; they have the internet. But one thing you can’t get in one place, and it’s not easy to aggregate, is the OE information.”
The MSO Symposium
The MSO Symposium returns, with attendance now open to any multi-shop location business, regardless of business volume, or any single-shop-location business doing more than $3 million per year, Risley said.
“Through our advisory committee (which is composed of large and regional MSOs), the overwhelming consensus is ‘Let’s do something that’s focused on the regional MSOs,’” he said. “If you have two, three, or four facilities, we have a panel that’s specifically set up for you to talk about your growth, your challenges, and how you are competing against the larger MSOs. ‘How are you competing for staff and what are you doing to make yourself more attractive to your DRP partners?’”
A symposium panel, including representatives of Allstate, Farmers, Progressive, and State Farm, will discuss OEM certification programs.
“There are OEM certifications popping up all over the place,” Risley said. “It has changed the dynamics of direct repair programs, and who’s on the program.”
He said insurance companies must be able to confidently refer customers to a certified facility for a proper repair, but are the insurance companies taking into allowance a shop’s cost to be a certified repair center — from labor rates and proper tooling?
Returning this year are the popular Technology & Telematics Forum (TTF) and the Service & Repair Leadership Forum (SRLF), which will have OEM participation at various levels.
The TTF, geared toward mechanical and collision repairers, will include a panel discussion of the latest accident-avoidance systems and their repair and calibration, while OEM panelists and a consumer privacy expert will discuss cybersecurity issues.
This is the second year for the SRLF, which was created to bring service and repair industry leadership together just as events such as the Collision Industry Conference has for the collision industry segment, Risley said.
“We’re really reaching out to the higher-level executives so we can have the right people in the room,” he said. “Federated, NAPA, AutoZone, Federal-Mogul, and Bosch — we want those people in the industry. It facilitates dialogue and collaboration.”
Other topics to be explored during the SRLF include service and part information, the possibility of licensing for shops and technicians, and how business models are changing.
“We changed the focus of CARS last year from technical to more business management and leadership,” Risley said. “With the rebirth and relaunch of AMI with Jeff Peevy, that will continue to be driven home. There will be an influx of business management and leadership classes, because attendees can get a lot of technical training at a regional level.”
Tool, equipment and product demos
Several changes were made to attract attendees to the show floor and keep them there, Risley said. The popular on-floor demos of tools and equipment will return, except painting demos will now be outside in a spray booth instead of using portable prep stations. Also outside will be Ford’s “Ride and Drive” demo of its aluminum 2017 Super Duty pickup, which as of this writing has 400 attendees registered for it.
Collision and I-CAR training
I-CAR leads with NACE training. Free OEM training seminars, a hit when they debuted last year, will now be held at the back of the show floor instead of in meeting rooms adjacent to the expo, he said, which will also drive show floor traffic.
Training provided by OEMs includes information for the latest models, including the Audi Q7, Cadillac CT6, Chrysler Pacifica, Ford F-150 and Super Duty, and Honda Civic and Pilot.
In another departure from years past, there will be no general session this year, Risley said. Instead, ASA will host a welcome reception for all registered attendees in the Grand Plaza, a large open area between the Marriott and Hilton hotels and the convention center, with free food and drinks.
“The welcome reception gives people an opportunity for networking, which is a huge part of any industry event.”
Although the location for the 2017 event will not be announced until the Anaheim show, it will be an eastern location. After that, it will rotate to a central location, then west again.
“Rotating the show not only makes it unique compared to other international trade shows in the United States, but it provides the exhibitors an opportunity to see customers that they may not have an opportunity to reach if the show was in the same city and state every year,” Risley said.