Top speakers once again wow at NADA Connect 2024

In terms of the quality of the speakers and the topical subject matter, the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) once again surpassed the high standards it set at its 2023 conference at this year’s NADA Connect 2024 conference, which was held at the Houghton Hotel on 14 March.

Riaan Nada1

Chairperson of NADA, Brandon Cohen, rightly pointed out that each speaker was meticulously chosen to bring something to the proverbial table that could be practically implemented by those in attendance.

The keynote speaker was Manny de Canha, a groundbreaking veteran of the automotive industry, both locally and abroad. Manny, who is currently the CEO of C2 Technologies Group, started importing vehicles and related products to Southern Africa and distributing them.

He successfully managed the exclusive importation and distribution of Hyundai, Renault, Kia, Mitsubishi, Tata and other brands and became the largest vehicle importer in the Southern hemisphere. He then created Liquid Capital, which is the second-largest motor financial services group in Southern Africa.

Manny de Canha.

Manny shared his years of hard-earned expertise and pointed out what mistakes he believed dealers were making. He also gave a sobering overview of the global new energy vehicle craze, urging the audience to get back to basics and the realities of the South African market.

He was followed by the first international speaker, CEO of Vertu Motors Group in the UK, Robert Forrester, who joined the conference via satellite link. Robert lifted the veil on Vertu’s success story and the philosophy of running a motor retailer chain of an astonishing 190 franchised dealerships.

Johann Theart, General Manager of Marketing Planning at Toyota, then brought attendees up to speed with all things related to the new-energy vehicle segment as it pertains to South Africa as well as where Toyota stood on the issue both locally and globally. Like his colleague, Manny de Canha, Johan also called for cool heads to prevail amidst all the hype, but he did add that dealerships should start preparing to embrace this segment.

Robert Forrester.
Johann Theart.

Information Security and Compliance Officer at Britehouse Automotive, Pieter Potgieter, made sure during his time on the podium, that dealers realised that regardless of their size, they are a much sought-after target by organised crime owing to the value of the consumer data they sat on.

Finally, once again via satellite link, conference attendees were transported into the future by Dr Christian Richter from Munich, the Director Global Automotive and Automotive Retail at Google. Dr Richter made the highly technical subject of artificial intelligence and its possible benefits to the industry accessible to the audience.

Pieter Potgieter.
Dr Christian Richter.

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