The seventh annual TalkAUTO Canada conference presented by Canadian Black Book with J.D Power was hosted at the Universal Event Space in Vaughan, Ontario. A range of issues affecting the automotive industry were discussed by way of presentations, panel discussions and networking sessions.

J.D Power’s own J.D Ney, Senior Manager, Automotive Practice welcomed over 600 attendees to the day’s event. Jeff Schuster, President, Americas Operations and Global Vehicle Forecasts, LMC automotive kickstarted the morning with LMC’s forecast for the Canadian Automotive Market. To follow, was Chris Hodges, VP Customer Experience and Digital Solutions at J.D Power who spoke to the issue of the Digitally enabled Customer Experience.

 Adding on to Hodges presentation, was the popular Dealer panel. Panelist, Greg Warkentin, General Manager from Bayfield Ford summed up the issues of significance to dealers today,  “The biggest challenge dealers face is blending customer experience with digital technology, brand loyalty is gone, the product is almost secondary, its all about relationships and customer experience…  dealers need to become part of the disruption, not the disrupted”.

 The morning sessions also included keynote speaker Sheryl Connelly, Manager, Global Trends and Futuring Manager, Ford Motor Company that looked at the current trends changing the world. As well as Canadian Black Book’s Market Briefing given by Brian Murphy, Vice-President, Editorial, Canadian Black Book. Brian spoke to the rising issue of negative equity in Canada. Negative equity occurs when a consumer owes more on their loan for a vehicle than the vehicle is presently worth. To help combat this issue, CBB has created an equity calculator available on their website to help consumers understand how vehicle equity works over time to help them in a buying decision. The calculator gives the user a loan balance and the consumers equity position.

 The afternoon session consisted of a presentation on new Mobility by Richard Wallace, Vice President, Transportation Systems Analysis, Center for Automotive Research. Followed by the F&I panel and afternoon keynote delivered by Dan McGrath, COO, Cineplex Entertainment.

The event concluded with closing remarks by Brad Rome, President, Canadian Black Book.

Brad Rome and Brian Murphy from Canadian Black Book

Panelists weighed in on issues impacting dealers during TalkAUTO's Dealer Panel

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