The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) conference is right around the corner, and I’m already looking forward to what we’ll see there. It’s not just the automotive industry’s most important event – it’s an opportunity to attend scores of workshops on industry trends and best practices, meet with clients and prospective clients, and reconnect in-person to “talk shop” with colleagues from around the country. And, in fact, from around the world, as we’ll have colleagues joining from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil and the UK. That’s a proof point of the importance of the NADA conference – even on a global scale.

NADA 2024 will be action-packed, and a great opportunity to look at what’s coming down the pike in the year ahead. Here are a few thoughts on what the buzz will be about on the show floor this year.

How to Navigate a Car Buyers’ Market

What a difference a year can make. Last year’s sellers’ market is in the rear-view mirror, and now we’ll hear how dealers plan to handle today’s normalizing inventory and increased competition. A big part of that will be understating and catering to the needs of today’s customers, who have more vehicle-buying options than in 2023.

Thoughtful dealers will be refocused on the basics, including doubling down on sales and F&I training, pairing customers with the right vehicle as EVs continue to be a big part of the conversation, and looking for new opportunities to grow PVR across all products.

Reducing the Pain as Inflation Wanes

While inflation is heading in the right direction, the effects of the past few years have led more dealers to think through how to maximize profitability and drive customer satisfaction in the face of lingering inflation effects. A big part of that dual goal will be ensuring that the F&I products they offer aren’t just inflation-proofed – as car buyers have more choices in the marketplace, those products must also be customer-optimized.

Focusing on the customer’s long-term satisfaction is a way to minimize the pain points around vehicle purchasing and ownership – including when making repair claims in the face of higher parts and labor costs.

Making Every Dollar Count: Maximizing Profit Participation

With continued margin compression, profit participation programs can be an important revenue stream for dealers who want greater control over their financial destiny. While most dealers engage in a profit participation program, those who neglect to regularly revisit their strategy and assess their current needs may risk leaving a significant amount of money on the table. 

Decision-makers will be reassessing their participation strategy in 2024, weighing factors such as short- and long-term cash flow needs, how much control over the claims process they want, and their tolerance for risk as they take a fresh look at profit participation in the year ahead.

Is Electric Vehicle Demand Still on the Rise?   

As electric vehicle (EV) adoption has moved beyond the excitement of the early adopters to a more measured pace, it’s important to look beyond the sometimes-sensational headlines. Sales of electric vehicles continue to grow as global automakers introduce new models, including lower-priced EVs; battery-building consortiums move forward with new factories; and government continues to encourage wide-spread EV adoption.

Forward-thinking dealers will be assessing their readiness and taking appropriate steps in 2024, including readying their sales and F&I teams with EV-specific training and ensuring they can offer comprehensive protection products designed for today’s electric vehicles.

Let's Meet at the NADA Show

If you’ll be attending the 2024 NADA Show, stop by Booth #3121W and say hello to the Assurant team. We're featuring “Forward Thinking Conversations” with several of our Assurant leaders from across the business. We'll discuss topics in the industry around optimizing sales and F&I, navigating participation models, and the customer experience across the EV ecosystem.

Reach out to me or your Assurant representative to get a seat at the table. We’re always ready to answer any questions about – and collaborate on new ways of – maximizing your performance and profitability in the coming year.