DUBLIN, Ohio – The networking and training program, Together Automotive Retailing Prospers (TARP), has expanded into a regional, six-state seminar series in conjunction with the NIADA, OIADA, Auttr.com, Columbus Auto Fair Auction and partners AutoTrader.com, NAC and Manheim.

The program, established by Keith Whann, general counsel for the NIADA and co-owner/CEO/general counsel for Columbus Fair Auto Auction, aims to build stronger relationships between dealers and lenders.

“I was invited to testify in Washington this past March at the “Consumer Protection in the Used & Subprime Car Market” hearing. As I prepared my testimony, the negative environment surrounding the automotive industry was growing. I felt something had to be done to change this trend and decided to try and lead by example,” said Whann. “Auto dealers were in dire need of cash flow for floor planning of inventory and additional finance sources for their retail customers, so that’s where I focused my efforts and along the way my TARP Program was born.”

The first TARP event held in March brought together more than 30 lenders and 300 attendees. The event was quickly incorporated into the NIADA Convention in June, where more than 50 lenders and 950 attendees participated.

“Keith’s TARP program was the right thing at the right time for the industry, as evidenced by the overwhelming success at our convention” said Mike Linn, NIADA CEO. “This seminar series is a fine example of NIADA’s commitment to educating both dealers and consumers alike.”

“The automotive industry, while recovering from it’s toughest times in over two decades, is a long way from being what it used to be or what it can be,” said Pete Biscardi, President of NAC. “Keith’s initiative and NIADA’s involvement inspired us to take a more active role and create an exciting new NIADA Certified Vehicle Program that will enhance resale values and enable used auto dealers to finally provide consumers with a quality vehicle certification program.”

The NIADA Car Counselor’s TARP Regional Seminar Series begins in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 16 & 17, and has additional dates in Philadelphia, Orlando, Fla., Dallas, and Northern Virginia for 2009 and 2010. The program will also be integrated into the 2010 NIADA Annual Convention in Las Vegas.

Along with building lender/dealer relationships, the events will also feature the new NIADA Certified Vehicle Program, Keys to Online Marketing Success for Dealers, and Whann’s “Car Buying IS FUN” Program – focused on educating consumers about the car buying process.

For more information about upcoming Regional TARP Conferences visit www.whannTARP.com or contact L.J. Marhefka, TARP lending coordinator at (740) 338-0488.