Insights from the 2024 NHADA Member Convention

Insights from the 2024 NHADA Member Convention

From June 23-25, Team ARB headed to the town of Meredith, New Hampshire, for the annual New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association (NHADA) Member Convention. The “Family Reunion” provided a valuable platform for the state’s auto dealers to exchange insights and discuss pressing issues facing the automotive industry today. Here are some key takeaways from the event.

Opportunities for Growth

While there have been several dealership sales and consolidations in New Hampshire and Vermont over the last few years, NHADA has been evolving to maintain its membership strength (for example, recently reaching across state lines to Maine to support powersports dealers). These consolidations have impacted participation in the Association’s member benefit programs, which have been instrumental in the success of the NHADA members, from workers compensation to safety and risk training and beyond. There is strength in numbers and NHADA is the leading voice for the New Hampshire dealerships.

Ongoing Recruitment and Retention Challenges

A recurring theme at the convention was the ongoing struggle with recruitment and retention of staff. This issue remains a significant challenge for the industry and was a focal point of several discussions. Dealers are continuously seeking effective strategies to attract and retain skilled employees—crucial for maintaining high levels of customer service and operational efficiency—but it remains an uphill battle.

Political Landscape and Legislative Impact

Sherm Packard, the Speaker of the New Hampshire House, was at the convention and provided insights into the state political landscape. He expressed confidence that the Republicans would continue to hold both the House and Senate come November. Speaker Packard believes this will be advantageous for the NHADA, as it will allow the association to better defend against or defeat legislation that could negatively impact the automotive industry.

Data Security and the CDK Global Cyberattack

With the majority of the industry still reeling from the CDK Global Cyberattack, data security was a prominent topic at the convention. The attack on the industry’s leading provider of dealer management systems has disrupted operations and revealed significant security risks, underscoring the importance of robust cybersecurity measures. A session by Comply Auto focused on the requirement for dealers to report data breaches to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The recent FTC decision allowing CDK to report on a consolidated basis rather than requiring individual dealer reports was highlighted as a noteworthy development. Although only a few dealers at the convention used CDK, the breach raised broader concerns about the security of other dealer management systems.

Looking Ahead: Collaboration and Continuous Improvement

Overall, the NHADA Member Convention was a fruitful gathering, fostering valuable exchanges of information and strengthening industry connections. New Hampshire’s auto dealers have demonstrated resilience and adaptability in the face of various challenges. The discussions on regional collaboration, political strategies, and data security emphasized the importance of staying informed and proactive. As we look forward to the 2025 Family Reunion, it’s clear that continuous improvement and collaboration will be key to navigating the evolving landscape of the automotive industry. For any questions or assistance regarding financial issues affecting the industry, Team ARB remains available and committed to supporting our fellow dealers.

Jason LeBlanc ARB Principal edited

Jason LeBlanc joined ARB in 1997 and has been a principal for the firm since 2016. He is the Practice Leader for both ARB’s M&A Advisory Group and Nonprofit Advisory Services Group. Throughout his career in public accounting, Jason’s focus has been on M&A advisory services and providing accounting, compliance, and consulting services to clients in the professional services firms, nonprofit, and automotive sectors. He works extensively with organizations subject to Single Audit reporting requirements.

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