November 18, 2014 • Los Angeles, CA

Please note this is a tentative agenda and is subject to change. Check back for updates.

2014 Western Automotive Conference: Connecting with Gen Y

 Tuesday, November 18, 2014

10:45 a.m. Registration Opens

11:35 a.m. Welcome Remarks
Forrest McConnell, Chairman, NADA
Bob Smith, Executive Director, Greater LA Dealer Association

11:55 a.m. Lunch

Sponsored by:


12:20 p.m. Lunch Keynote:
Chris Rhoades, Chief Designer and Senior Design Manager, Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center

The presentation begins as an overview of the Daimler group global design activities with focus on the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy.  ‘Sensual Purity’ embodies our Design language as expression of modern luxury. Numerous explorations in the form of sculptures are presented to describe the simplistic, authentic and emotional exercises MB designers used to develop future form language. Several vehicle examples are offered to illustrate how this philosophy translates into real life product, as well as, lifestyle experiences and entices the next generation of Mercedes customers.

12:50 p.m.Q&A with Keynote Speaker
Jerry Hirsch, Writer, LA Times

1:00 p.m. Networking Break

Sponsored by:

1:15 p.m. WAC Welcome Remarks
John Humphrey, Senior Vice President, Global Automotive, J.D. Power

1:25 p.m. Macro View: Perspective on the U.S. Economy
Six years into its recovery, the U.S. economy still has to fight against too many headwinds, which keep the recovery slow and fragile. But, there are reasons for optimism, including a private sector that is still able to spend. Major global risks to the downside have been reduced, but remain.  Political constraints within the U.S. have lessened and monetary policy remains on easy street; however, potential shocks from abroad or a policy mistake in the United States make for a risky outlook.

Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. Chief Economist, Global Economics and Research, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services

1:45 p.m. Automotive Outlook and California Trends
J.D. Power will share its latest insights on the U.S. automotive industry and uncover the trends from the California market that may influence the rest of the U.S. retail automotive business.

John Humphrey, Senior Vice President, Global Automotive, J.D. Power

2:05 p.m. Deloitte Global Automotive GEN Y Study
Does Gen Y want the keys to the car? This session will review the results of an extensive study that paints a complex mosaic of opportunities and challenges for automotive companies with a large and powerful consumer segment more willing than prior generations to forego vehicle ownership altogether.

Joe Vitale, Global Automotive Industry Leader, Deloitte Touche

2:30 p.m. Gen Y: The Marketing Perspective
Gen Y represents a challenge to the auto industry as it is the first generation that doesn’t express a love for automobiles as their predecessors.  Nonetheless, this group continues to increase in market share at the greatest rate among all new-vehicle buyers. And their focus on car ownership is on the experience, not the car itself.  OEMs and retailers who can effectively of appeal to this new generation of car buyers have the best chance to win their hearts, minds and their business.  This panel will explores the unique needs and interests of Gen Y and share practices for connecting with them based on OEM, agency, and market research perspectives.

Moderator:  Tim Stevens, Editor at Large, CNET

Kristin Kolodge, Senior Lead, Product Management & Development, J.D. Power
John Lisko, Executive Communications Director, Saatchi & Saatchi
Joe Vitale, Global Automotive Industry Leader, Deloitte Touche
Erich Marx, Director of Digital Marketing, Nissan North America

3:10 p.m. Networking Break

Sponsored by:

Rocketfuel Logo

3:30 p.m. Gen Y: The Retail Perspective
Gen Y has different expectations and desires regarding their experiences with auto dealers.  Their comfort with using the Internet and digital devices to do their research is transforming how retailers approach this audience during the sales process. 

Moderator: Peter Welch, President, NADA

Elizabeth Alexander, President, Nick Alexander Imports
Howard Drake, Dealer Principal, Casa de Cadillac
Howard Hakes, Vice President, Hitchcock Automotive
Bill Berman, Senior Vice President, Sales, AutoNation

4:15 p.m. Industry Keynote Address: Listening and Connecting to Gen Y
Jim Lentz, Chief Executive Officer, Toyota North America

When automakers and our dealer partners understand the many ways Generation Y differs from other generations, and align our communications efforts accordingly, we will be better positioned to ensure our future success.

John Casesa, Senior Managing Director, Guggenheim Securities

5:00 p.m. Closing Remarks
Peter Welch, President, NADA

5:05 p.m. -
7:00 p.m.
 Networking Reception