McLEAN, Va. — The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) announced today that attendance at its 2011 Convention and Expo increased nearly 16 percent from last year.

“This was one of the best all-around NADA conventions in recent memory,” said Stephen Wade, who became NADA chairman on Feb. 7. “Auto sales are up. Dealers are getting back to business. These are all signs the U.S. economy is recovering.”

Record warm temperatures greeted more than 18,000 attendees during the three-day convention in San Francisco, which ran Feb. 5-7. There were about 15,200 total attendees at the 2010 convention in Orlando, Fla.

The majority of attendees included U.S. dealers and their managers, international dealers, automaker executives and exhibitors and their staff.

“We expect the auto industry to continue to lead the economic recovery,” added Wade, a multi-franchise dealer in Utah and California. “The increased participation of dealers and their managers at the franchise meetings and workshop sessions shows that they are getting serious about making the most of this economic rebound.”

Total dealer and manager turnout at 101 workshop sessions covering 35 topics, presented by NADA University, was 13,400 attendees, a 15 percent increase over 2010. Many of the new “Online Presence” workshops were filled to capacity.

On the Expo side, there were 363 companies exhibiting in two halls at the Moscone Center occupying a total of 400,000 sq. ft.

About 1,700 international dealers from 41 countries attended the convention, which was covered by journalists from 12 countries.

The 2012 NADA convention will be held in Las Vegas Feb. 4-6. For the first time, it will be held in conjunction with the American Truck Dealers (ATD) Convention and Expo.

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