I have a couple of house cleaning items to get to before I tell you about a very important MEETING taking place March 8-9 at the Las Vegas Hilton.

First off, I’m really excited about my trip to San Francisco for the 2011 NADA Convention & Expo. While there, I’ll be visiting Mercedes-Benz of San Francisco to witness a new iPad tool Mercedes-Benz Financial Services will soon be releasing. Let me just say the captive lender is looking to use the iPad to introduce F&I products to customers as they wait for the “TO” to F&I. Don’t worry, I’ll have a full report when I return from the show.

Second, I don’t like making mistakes, but I have no problem admitting I’ve made one when I do. Unfortunately, there are no “For the Record” boxes online, so I thought I’d use the blog to correct a couple of errors we made last week.

Last week we posted a news item about the Impact Group’s Fusion menu, which now offers e-rating and e-contracting capabilities for IAS’s full line of products and services. The problem is we mistakenly wrote that the Fusion menu was an IAS software piece, which it isn’t. Here’s a link to the corrected release. I’d like to extend my apologies to Mark Thorpe and his team for that mistake.

Additionally, regarding the story I wrote on the new California law that is prohibiting the sale of deductible coverage through GAP, the state’s department of insurance has delayed enforcement of the new rule through March. The story incorrectly stated that enforcement would be delayed until June 30. This is important because you California dealers need to get on the horn with your providers and make sure your GAP contracts are compliant with the new law.

Now, let’s move on to the MEETING. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been running press releases online about a new conference called the Agent Summit. What we’ve done is teamed up with Agent Entrepreneur, a new e-zine dedicated to agents, to put on this new show.

The seed for this new venture was planted at last year’s F&I Conference and Expo, where we staged a pre-show event for agents. The success of that show was the impetus behind the Agent Summit.

Now, for you agents, the new event isn’t a move to exclude you from this year’s F&I Conference and Expo. In fact, we’re beefing up the agenda to include a track dedicated to the agent community. With that said, let me tell you why you need to be at the Agent Summit.

See, there are issues the agent community is facing that need to be addressed in a forum that allows for open discussion, and that allows everyone to get on the same page. Take the panel discussion we’ve added to the Agent Summit’s agenda, titled, “Captive vs. Aftermarket: Should a Captive’s F&I Product Receive Better Terms?” Yes, this is an issue that impacts dealers and their F&I departments, but, if you weren’t aware, this battle is being fought in the trenches by the agent community. So, this discussion represents a chance for agents to really delve into this issue to figure out a way forward.

Speaking of battles fought in the trenches, Randy Crisorio, president and CEO of UDS, will deliver a from-the-trenches view of the value agents bring to dealers. If you’re an agent who’s ever faced off with a provider’s sales team, this is one presentation you won’t want to miss – as Randy aims to highlight the real benefits you bring to the table in what he promises to be an interactive presentation.

I’m also excited to announce that Joe Verde will join us at the show. He’ll open up the Agent Summit with a presentation on how agents can help dealers move from recovery to growth.

The event’s agenda also touts what promises to be a great panel discussion. We’re bringing together five very successful agents to sound off on some of the biggest issues impacting the agent community.

Now, we also have scheduled eight educational workshops that will be led by the likes of George Angus, Luis Garcia, Gerry Gould, Rick McCormick and John Vecchioni. Additional speakers will be announced in the days and weeks ahead, so stay tuned.

You can find the Agent Summit’s official agenda by clicking here. Now, the reason why I’m talking about this at length is because I’m serving as the chair of the advisory board. Think of it as my way of doing a little research.

See, I know there are issues our magazine and our annual conference can and should address, but getting involved in the issues impacting the agent side of the business presents an opportunity for me to view things in an entirely different light. And let me tell you, working with the board has been one heck of an education for me.

With that said, I’d like to recognize GSFS’s Stephen Amos, EFG Companies’ Paul Budvitis, president of the company’s agency services, IAS’s Bob Corbin, UDS’s Randy Crisorio, Safe-Guard’s Dave Duncan, Heart Dealer Financial Services’ Johnny Garlich, Resources Management Group’s Gregg Lindo, Vision of F&I’s Ron Martin, Reahard & Associates’ Ron Reahard, Resource Automotive’s Charlie Robinson, Dealer Commitment Services’ Glen Tuscan, and Great Lakes Companies’ Steve Veldkamp. These 12 individuals have helped us create what I think is one heck of an agenda.

So, for you dealership people out there, we’re not leaving you for another industry. In fact, I think we’re strengthening what we’ll be offering this September when the F&I Conference and Expo rolls into the Las Vegas Hilton. With the knowledge I’m going to pick up in the next month or so, we will have an agenda that’ll really be dialed into the issues impacting the dealer community.


Gregory Arroyo
Gregory Arroyo

Editorial Director

Gregory Arroyo is the former editorial director of Bobit Business Media's Dealer Group.

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Gregory Arroyo is the former editorial director of Bobit Business Media's Dealer Group.

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