Thursday, 28 August 2014 17:22

NACE / CARS 2014 – Bigger & Better in the Motor City

Written by Brian Nessen

The automotive collision and mechanical repair industry flocked to Detroit this summer for the renaissance of NACE | CARS 2014. With celebrities, industry giants, technical experts, live demos and a wide array of leading industry associations converging in the Motor City, it was an exceptional week.

Darryl Simmons of Collision Repair Magazine said it best as part of the publication’s recap of NACE | CARS 2014:

“There must have been some Motor City magic breathing a whole new life into the industry’s crown jewel show. The air crackled with excitement at this year’s NACE. From show-floor buzz to forward-looking presentations, from cutting-edge training to extraordinary social events, this was, according to exhibitors and attendees, the best collision repair exposition in recent memory.”

With more than 6,500 automotive industry professionals visiting the Expo and 8,000-plus throughout Detroit attending NACE | CARS and related Industry Week events, the turnout was top-notch.

Partnering with numerous associations, events and groups such as I-CAR, CREF, MERA, CCIF and CIC to form Industry Week was a recipe for success. It clearly showed there is still significant support and benefits for an industry-specific event.

The 2014 NACE | CARS Conference & Expo kicked off July 30, offering a diverse collection of new features, including a larger show floor, a rebranded MSO Symposium (now “CRES,” the Collision Repair Executive Symposium), as well as manufacturer-specific classes and a strong focus on aluminum repair.

Numerous live demonstrations on the show floor included aluminum welding, spraying in two prep booths, rivet bonding and more. Chip Foose, KC Mathieu, and Hal Loo performed live paint/spray demos for attendees. Charley Hutton and Ryan Evans were also on hand signing autographs. I-CAR hosted a large center stage with presentations throughout the two-day expo.

On the mechanical service and repair side of the business, CARS brought all new content to attendees including the Auto Alliance Technology & Telematics Forum, the Young Technicians Symposium, live demonstrations of scan tool and new alignment technology, and much more.

Real decision-makers and shop owners came from throughout the U.S. and more than 20 additional countries to find the latest tools and technology for their shops.  Many exhibitors reported making numerous sales throughout the show.

“The ASA board and management made some bold moves for NACE | CARS 2014. We knew we were taking a risk but we also knew changes had to be made to the event for the benefit of the automotive repair industry, our members, and the association. Although we will continue to make improvements, we are very pleased with the results and we appreciate the support of everyone involved,” said Darrell Amberson, ASA chairman.

“The success of the show is truly defined by the feedback from exhibitors and attendees regarding their experience. The response from them has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re thankful for their support and look forward to building upon the foundation we’ve established in Detroit,” said Dan Risley, ASA president and executive director.

The industry is still buzzing about NACE | CARS 2014

Dan Benton, color marketing manager for North America at Axalta Coating Systems, said, “I saw people both days here come back, so I think Detroit is a great location.”

“This is definitely the best NACE show in a long time,” said Dana Alexander of CSN – Dana’s Collision, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. “It was a great lineup of education seminars and plenty of new items on the show floor. I especially enjoyed the show app that let me find booths and keep track of events. Great job!”

“The week flew by. I was busy the entire time. The floor had more pop and excitement, the venue was far better than I expected, the industry week events were informative and the networking was everywhere. Nice job! Something to build on for years to come,” said Mike LeVasseur, president and COO, Keenan Auto Body Inc., Clifton Heights, PA.

“… By a large margin I feel the show was our most successful in recent memory. I felt the show floor was the best laid-out show floor I have seen in quite some time,” said Pete Rudloff, owner, Pete’s Garage, Newark, Del.

“Having just expanded my location, I needed new equipment. Now we will be prepared for aluminum repairs by year-end,” said Don Morton, Don-Mor CARSTAR, London, Ontario, Canada. “The layout of the show made it easy to find specific booths and the proximity to the education events was convenient.”

“We are very pleased with the workflow, the educational seminars and the venue,” said Jeff Kern, president of Car-O-Liner. “I especially enjoyed the CRES symposium. Many of our key accounts are here and we are happy to have the opportunity to spend quality time together with them.”

Kurt Lammon, Urethane Supply Company, said, “NACE is back! We are happy to be here and are happy with the turnout of shops and distributors.”

John Brill, Steck Manufacturing, said the show offered something for everyone, which added a new sense of excitement: “It’s great to see all the training and education on aluminum. Life is back at the show.”

For all the post-show details, pictures and video about the NACE | CARS 2014 Expo & Conference, visit or

About the Events

Along with NACE | CARS 2014, a series of automotive repair industry events and co-located meetings took place July 28-Aug. 2, 2014. Early in the week there was a series of Board and other private meetings. Tuesday featured the CIC quarterly meeting. Wednesday highlighted the I-CAR Conference and Gala 35th Anniversary Networking Reception. On Thursday and Friday, the NACE | CARS Expo took place, along with numerous NACE and CARS business and technical sessions, the Collision Repair Executive Symposium (CRES), the Technology & Telematics Forum, the Automotive Management Institute (AMI) graduation ceremony and on-site I-CAR training. Technical presentations concluded at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, August 2.

International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) – the world’s collision repair event – represents the only B2B event of its kind specifically designed for collision repair industry professionals from around the globe. NACE features a comprehensive educational Conference and Expo with hundreds of diverse exhibiting companies displaying the latest equipment, products, services and technology available to today’s collision repair industry.

Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS)
– the premier event for automotive service professionals – features a high-quality education lineup led by industry leaders, along with an exhibitor showcase of automotive service and repair related equipment, products and services.

NACE | CARS 2014 was produced for the Automotive Service Association (ASA) by Stone Fort Group, an integrated media company specializing in live events and digital media. For 2015 exhibit or show information, contact ASA’s trade show management team at:

Stone Fort Group
(832) 932-7868
10575 Katy Freeway, Suite 330
Houston TX 77024

For additional event information, visit or

About the Sponsor

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) is the sponsor of NACE and CARS. ASA is the largest international not-for-profit trade association of its kind dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and repair professionals. ASA advances professionalism and excellence in the automotive industry through education, legislative representation and member services. For additional information about ASA or to join, go to

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