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Automotive Service Association (ASA) President Ron Pyle probably had the quote of the week when, at the closing press conference of this year’s NACE held Oct. 10-13 in Las Vegas, he said, “I feel like a rescued Chilean miner.”
What he was referring to was the relief he felt after determining, based on the number of attendees and exhibitors who showed up, that the ASA-sponsored show was downsized “appropriately” given the current economy.
“We knew we were going to have a shortfall,” Pyle said, adding that attendance at every trade show across all industries is down. But overall, he called NACE a success.
Approximately 1,115 repairers showed up, with an estimated 1,000 in the opening general session Monday morning. Other key numbers included:
75,000 total square feet of exhibit space, which included 10,000 square feet for the OEM Pavilion and 10,000 square feet of education and demo space
Roughly 50 attendees in each mechanical education session
Roughly 100 attendees in each collision education session
As far as the future goes, Pyle offered some insight into what the industry can expect of NACE down the road. Some repairers have suggested that NACE be held once every two years, but Pyle said he felt having the show every other year “wouldn’t be acceptable to vendors whose years are made by this,” adding that vendors sold more on the first day of the show this year than last year.
As far as moving NACE to a city other than Las Vegas, Pyle left the door wide open, saying that there is sufficient flexibility in the contract with Mandalay Bay to consider other locations.
“It’s a marginal call to be in Vegas,” he said. “Vegas always drew more attendees, but it’s not the draw it used to be. It’s been six years running now.”
As for now, NACE has been set next year for Oct. 16-19 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. This year, it broke off from Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (to be held Nov. 2-5) to distance itself from rival SEMA Show, and Pyle said he was pleased that SEMA wasn’t able to “take advantage of our attendees at no marketing expense.”
“We will continue to be fiercely independent, and if the show is held again in Las Vegas, it will be successful,” said Pyle. “We have a core audience that is hungry for networking, education and new products. We are still the world’s largest collision event.”