CARS 2004 RecapPosted 12/15/2004
So said CARQUEST's Chris Chesney as he introduced the keynote speaker at the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service.
And maybe that best sums up CARS 2004.
This year's event set an attendance record (there were more than 700 attendees) and without a doubt, CARS 2004 was the biggest and best one ever.
It more than lived up to its theme, "Feel the Power." You could almost feel the energy as participants attended educational courses and took in the exhibits and networked with fellow ASA members from across the nation.
There was definitely something for everyone. There were seven technical courses and three Automotive Management Institute (AMI) seminars, all taught by some of the leading instructors in the industry. Representatives of seven OEMs presented information on new systems and features that are being incorporated in vehicles of the future. There was the largest exhibitor showcase ever; more than $20,000 given away in prizes by participating exhibitors; the keynote speech by John G. Miller; and luncheons, dinners, receptions and other opportunities for socializing.
There was also a great report by Bob Redding, ASA's Washington, D.C., representative, on the association's legislative efforts - and a powerful message from Louden, who urged ASA shop owners to get their share of the $42 billion aftermarket automotive repair market. Louden also gave the audience some tips on how to achieve that goal.
In addition, there was the Service Professionals Industry Reception, co-hosted by ASA and the International Automotive Technicians' Network (iATN); and the day before CARS, there were the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) meetings that were open to everyone. The EPA and NASTF meetings afforded everyone an update on OEM Web sites.
The premier event of ASA's Mechanical Division, CARS is held annually during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week.
Next year, CARS will be held Nov. 3-5.
CARS Features OEM Technology Sessions
Independent repair shop owners and technicians got an opportunity at the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) to prepare for the vehicles they will be servicing in the near future.
In a first for CARS, which was held Nov. 4-6 at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, representatives of seven auto manufacturers held new product technology sessions. Representatives of Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Isuzu, Toyota and Volkswagen presented the sessions on Thursday, Nov. 4.
These individual sessions allowed each manufacturer an opportunity to provide attendees specific information on new systems or features that are being incorporated into automobiles of the future.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA), which sponsors CARS, saw the OEM sessions as a great opportunity to give shops and technicians a competitive advantage.
Louden Welcomes CARS Attendees, Redding Outlines Legislative Efforts
Persons attending the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) on Friday, Nov. 5, got a Texas-size welcome from CARS Chairman Steve Louden, AAM. They also received an update on the Automotive Service Association's legislative efforts from Robert L. Redding Jr., ASA's Washington, D.C., representative.
The chairman's welcome remarks and Redding's talk came at a breakfast on the first morning of CARS, which was held Nov. 4-6 at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. CARS was officially launched the night before at a reception for service professionals in the automotive repair industry.
Louden, the owner of Louden Motorcar Services Inc. in Dallas and a longtime member of ASA, told attendees this year's CARS had set a record for attendance, which, he said, "is fantastic." He asked attendees, "Where else could you go to find more networking and education opportunities - plus a chance to attend all the other shows going on during Industry Week? Can you feel the power? I hope so!"
Redding discussed the recent election's impact on independent repairers, specific issues in play for ASA in 2005, and how ASA could best use its advocacy resources for 2005.
Among key issues, said Redding, are Association Health Plans, right to repair legislation, the Clean Air Act and licensing.
One of the greatest things that has happened in the past year, said Redding, was the creation of the TakingTheHill Web site - which informs members about key issues and makes it easy for them to contact their senators and representatives. Redding urged members to use it.
Exhibitor Showcase Biggest, Best Ever
A key part of CARS is the Exhibitor Showcase, and this year's Showcase was the largest - and best - in CARS history.
Fifty-five companies were exhibiting, the exhibit hall was packed with people, and it proved to be a two-way street for attendees and exhibitors. A win-win situation.
Service professionals attending CARS like the exhibits because it gives them an opportunity to see new products first-hand, ask the exhibitors questions and get information they need. They often buy products on the spot.
Exhibitors like the opportunity to display their wares, meet potential customers, answer any questions attendees have and sell their products.
To find out exhibitors' "take" on being there, AutoInc. polled veteran CARS exhibitors as well as first-timers. Following is what they said.
CARS Attendees Win Prizes Exceeding $20,000
More than $20,000 in prizes was given away in drawings during the Exhibitor Showcase at the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) held Nov. 4-6 in Las Vegas.
Winners were announced immediately following the CARS Luncheon with Exhibitors, held in the Sunset Ballroom of the Flamingo Hotel. All CARS attendees were eligible to win.
Luncheon attendees were invited back to the Exhibitor Showcase, where the names of the drawing winners were posted on the booths of participating exhibitors.
Among the top prize giveaways won in the drawings:
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