Auto Service World
Feature   January 1, 2009   by Auto Service World

NACE Event A Success

In Las Vegas, where all roads lead to a casino, it can seem like your next destination is always a 10-minute walk away. Even the walk from your hotel room to the taxi stand is a daunting trek at the end of the day. But with the union of the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) and the Congress of Automotive Repair & Service (CARS), everything you needed to know about automotive repair was under one roof.

The two events, which ran from November 5 to 8, included more than 450 exhibitors related to collision and mechanical repair, plus a full conference program geared to collision repair technicians, mechanical technicians, estimators, managers, and jobbers.

For those in the collision repair industry, the addition of CARS onsite with the NACE show simply added value by giving show attendees the opportunity to check out exhibitors more attuned to mechanical repair than in past years, and to learn from seminars and conferences that targeted the mechanical aspects of the business.

The NACE show floor featured more than 400 exhibiting companies displaying a large selection of collision repair products, equipment, technology, and services. Nearby, the CARS show floor offered another 80 exhibitors displaying automotive repair and service products, services, equipment, and technologies, as well as exhibitor theatres that featured comprehensive training throughout the day.

NACE Expo Extras included ongoing exhibitor presentations and live demos, as well as the I-CAR Technology Showcase featuring daily clinics on technology and repair methods. Also included was the Auto Glass Expo, a focused pavilion featuring auto glass companies, live demos, and the annual Auto Glass Technician and Windshield Repair Olympics.

For 2008, the New Product Pavilion — featuring both NACE and CARS exhibitor products — was redesigned and positioned front and centre in the main lobby. Attendees were able to preview the newest products hitting the market prior to stepping on the show floors.

The conference component of NACE and CARS delivered comprehensive education and training by industry experts.

“Much emphasis has been placed on speaker selection and session content in the development of the 2008 program,” said Ellen Pipkin, Hanley Wood Exhibitions show manager of NACE and CARS. “Providing topics that address the daily challenges faced by collision and mechanical professionals is the primary objective. There really is no better place to get this education than NACE and CARS. It is our hope to equip conference participants with the skills and techniques that will help them to advance their businesses to the next level.”

NACE offered more than 55 sessions delivering cutting-edge ideas in six specific tracks: auto glass, estimating, jobber, management, vehicle repair, and women’s professional development. Topics included lean practices, OE colour variation, conflict management, and green consumer patterns.

I-CAR debuted its Hybrid Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicles class at NACE, along with Steel Unitized Structures Technologies and Repair and Steel Full-Frame Technologies and Repair; each was scheduled three times during the course of the conference.

With the convergence of repairers, suppliers, and insurance industry representatives in Las Vegas for NACE, it was the favoured time and location for collision-related meetings. The National Auto Body Council (NABC) held its annual meeting during the show; I-CAR provided training programs on Wednesday and Saturday; and NASTF ensured the availability of OE repair info.

On the social side, Canadians in Vegas gathered on Friday at Canadian Collision Repair Night, an invitation-only cocktail reception organized by the AIA at Caesar’s Palace.

Together, NACE and CARS represent the cornerstone of the recently created Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW), sponsored by the Automotive Service Association (ASA). These industry events were co-located at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

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