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The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention in Orlando, FL, is next week and customers, colleagues and industry suppliers seem less cautious and more optimistic about the industry trends for 2010.

And why shouldn’t we? New vehicle sales forecasts have continued to inch up to the mid and high 11 million ranges. New vehicle models have been launched with enthusiastic responses and early indications are a good start for January.

The word from dealers and dealer groups in 2010 is to capture consumers and households that have been orphaned from the dealership closures.

For new and used vehicle sales, or parts and service transactions, dealers know the importance of extending outside of their customer base and staking claim for new market share. Finding these prospects and transitioning them into customers is a key goal Polk is hearing from the dealers attending NADA.

So what are the suppliers to dealers saying? The allied industry suppliers, like marketing services and automotive CRM companies, new & used inventory stocking tools and consumer portals, are all looking to integrate objective market data into their applications for helping dealers make good data-driven decisions. The days of disparate data bases and silo reporting are over. This method simply does not allow the industry to act quickly and economically to target audiences and individuals who are in the market to purchase. Dealers are telling the suppliers to consolidate this data into an easy-to-use application so they can go to one spot and evaluate where to invest their automotive marketing budget, in what channels and with measured ROI.

So, what will be the buzz at NADA 2010? With a record number of workshops and companies exhibiting many of the tools mentioned above, I think we are going to see dealers that are looking for their suppliers to provide better methods for integrating the different market data while providing them and their employees more effective, economical and efficient ways to capture and convert consumers from their current data bases, as well as orphaned prospects that need a "new home" for their transportation needs. I'll report back after the show and let you know the outcome—stay tuned.

Posted by Brad Korner, Director - Client Sales & Service, Automotive Retail Solutions, Polk (02.02.2010)

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