The Automotive Service Association (ASA) is preparing for the International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) and the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS), which will be held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, MI, July 30 through August 2, 2014. It will be held in conjunction with Industry Week, which includes other core industry events such as the annual Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR), Collision Industry Conference (CIC), and Collision Repair Education Foundation 13th annual golf fundraiser. ASA executive director Dan Risley stresses the importance of NACE and CARS as “the only events solely dedicated to those who service and repair cars.”
One of the goals of the ASA in 2014 is to attract the “best of the best industry leaders,” so they are offering a special incentive for shops or repairers that are I-CAR Gold- or Platinum-certified or who have received the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Blue Shield or Master Technician certifications—to reward their investment in training and as an acknowledgement of their commitment to the industry, these shops/individuals will be able to purchase the super pass (allowing them full access for the entirety of Industry Week) at a 50 percent discount.
Risley is excited about the number of changes to this year’s program and the responses received thus far. “The concept is to bring people together and provide a place where people can get the technical information they need to repair today’s cars.”
Industry Week will begin on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, with the CIC, followed by I-CAR meetings on July 30, 2014. On Wednesday afternoon, the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) will hold a four- to six-hour event. The week will conclude with NACE/CARS on Thursday, July 31, and Friday, August 1, 2014.
Other important changes include moving the date of NACE/CARS 2014 from October to July, as well as holding the event in Detroit instead of a “destination location,” such as Las Vegas, NV, as they normally do. Risley explains that this choice was intentional for several reasons: “Detroit isn’t a destination trip, so attendees will be more inclined to spend time on the floor and in training classes. There are around 5,000 shops within a three-hour driving radius of the city who we want to reach. We want to give attendees a new experience coupled with class A training and information; we plan the show to be for and about people who work on cars.”
Some of these experiences that ASA hopes to provide take the form of various tours. As yet, the tour plans are still unconfirmed, but Risley hopes to offer tours to “some pretty unique venues”, including the Henry Ford Museum, the BASF facility (hosted by BASF), the Chrysler plant, the Ford F-150 plant, and the Dodge Viper plant (if their line is running at that point). Also unconfirmed as yet are ASA’s hopes to hold their annual graduation ceremony at the GM Heritage Center.
The hype surrounding the 2014 NACE/CARS is also reflected in the fact that exhibitors have already contracted several thousand square feet more than the show floor space in 2013. Risley believes that they are in position to sell out the 50,000 square-foot floor, and this doesn’t even include the 30,000 square feet dedicated to specialty vehicles, show cars, and a new demonstration area. Exhibitors are also supporting NACE/CARS by promoting the event to local shops.
Of course, there is a full schedule of training. “We are bolstering the training offered. You will see a distinct difference with a LOT of technical training,” Risley promises, which is in keeping with 2014 theme of Repairability.
The 2014 is heavily laden with technical training on both the collision and mechanical sides of the business. ASA is also collaborating with I-CAR to provide a full slate of I-CAR training for the collision repairers in attendance. One of their most highly-anticipated courses will involve aluminum-specific training sessions.