Summer time is convention time for the state chapters of the independent automobile dealers’ associations. That’s why I’m off to Georgia July 12–14 for the GIADA convention at the Hyatt Regency Savannah.

The theme for the 2018 Convention and Board Meeting is “It’s About Time: Change. Challenge. Opportunity.” The keynote speaker will be Herman Cain, former Republican candidate for the presidency. He’s also a seasoned business leader, who now hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show, “The Herman Cain Show.”

I have the great honor of serving on a panel with Ray Rodecker, director of field sales for Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA); Brad Yeager, regional sales director at TradeRev; and Cassie Crampton, sales director at Automotive Finance Corporation (AFC). These good folks are all from ADESA’s dynamic sister companies under the KAR Auction Services umbrella.

We’ll have a lively discussion about how trends in technology are impacting independent dealers. It kicks off at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 13.

Later that day, Brad and I will also co-host a workshop on one of my favorite topics: “Where Have All the Good Cars Gone? If You’re Not Digital, You’ll Get Left Behind.”

According to Edmunds Used Vehicle Market Report, in 2017 there were fewer than six million trade-ins (which averaged six years in age). This is a record five-year low, and 2018 isn’t looking much better.

With fewer vehicles being traded in at new car franchise dealerships, 8- to 15-year-old vehicles have higher value retention. This means fewer options for independent dealers looking for clean, older vehicles at a reasonable wholesale price to stock and sell.

Independent dealers need a DIGITAL plan to find good used vehicles. This is an interactive, best-practice-sharing, real-world-advice-you-can-actually-use kind of session.

Our workshop is on Friday, July 13, at 2:52 p.m. We wrap it up at 3:17 p.m., so don’t be late!

There will be plenty of other fun and informative activities, including a golf outing on Thursday, more dealer training opportunities, a silent auction, executive committee and board of directors’ meetings, and a banquet with awards. You don’t want to miss it.

See you in Savannah!