AADA CEO James Voortman opened the Convention with an overview of the changes the automotive industry has seen since we last gathered in 2019, including most notably the ‘super charged demand’ for vehicles and decreased supply of those vehicles. He noted some of the topics the AADA secretariat will be focusing on moving forward including vehicle emissions standards because of the recent change in Government, and confirming a commitment to work collaboratively in an open and honest manner with OEMs.
The morning of day one saw a presentation by Deloitte with a full analysis of the state of Dealer trading and profitability. Deloitte data spans back 20 years, not all years are good years. Average profits were low or negligible over the period 2015 to 2019. This past year saw dealers operating in a unique market, Deloitte reported that the average dealer profit was 4%. Next up was an industry F&I panel who discussed the need for new car Dealers to be diverse to suit different customers needs both digitally and through traditional channels.
In the afternoon Bruce Billson provided the keynote address, announcing the AADA, FCAI and MTAA Memorandum of Understanding and a rundown of how his office can assist AADA members.
Evan Stents of HWL Ebsworth spoke with James Voortman about changes to the Franchising Code. James and Evan discussed reforms which introduce compensation where a franchise is rationalised midterm, fair and reasonable terms in the franchise agreement, new dispute resolution terms including conciliation, arbitration, and collective mediation. Evan also described why the Mercedes Benz agency case, currently before the courts, is the most important case in the history of Australian franchising.
A final panel wrapped up the day’s presentations featuring industry CEO’s who gathered to discuss current economic and global circumstances including the problems of global supply, skills shortages of 33,000 technicians in the Australian market and prospects for improvement, overdue vehicle tax reform, and the evolution towards Low Emissions Vehicles (LEVs) reducing CO2 emissions. It was a wide-ranging discussion which projected ahead to the threats and opportunities that the retail auto industry will be dealing with in the near to medium term future.
Day two’s panel sessions began with one hosted by Autotrader Group focusing on Impactful marketing; what strategies industry leaders will be prioritising in 2022. The panel experts provided real world advise on how to maximise results, with a lot of discussion on digital transformation.
The closing session featured a discussion on the used car market where panelists analysed the features of the current market and potential outcomes for the market moving forward. The convention wrapped things up with a final industry panel on electric vehicles. The panelists spoke about the industry needing to diversify as consumer demands change, as we are seeing occur slowly in Australia. Further opportunities to branch out for Dealerships selling EVs were identified such as at home solutions for buyers and investing in infrastructure.
The workshops were well attended and gave delegates a wealth of information and research on improving sales, F&I, data, digital strategy, and much more.
The exhibition space was full of automotive specific suppliers who shared with delegates how they can assist their businesses.
The event ended with the announcement of 2023’s Convention location in Sydney.