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Head of Austria’s Automobile Dealer Association visits the U.S.

February 4, 2009

Searching for new ideas

In conjunction with a trip to the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) annual convention which was held from January 24-27, 2009 in New Orleans, Gustav Oberwallner, the President of the Federal Association of Motor Vehicle Dealers in Austria, also visited Chicago and the Austrian Trade Commission.

As many policies, trends, and ideas relating to the retail automotive business often begin in the United States, Mr. Oberwallner found it beneficial to visit the NADA convention. Especially in light of the current slowdown in automotive sales worldwide, the convention offered an excellent opportunity to learn first hand about the strategies automotive dealers in the United States are employing to retain, as well as increase showroom traffic.

Mr. Oberwallner also visited a BMW, as well as a Lexus dealership in “downtown” Chicago. As in the United States, there has also been a sharp reduction in auto sales in Austria, as result Austrian auto dealers have suffered as well.

However, the Austrian government recently enacted a measure which Mr. Oberwallner was quite enthusiastic about. Austrian consumers purchasing a new vehicle will receive a 1500 Euro credit if scrapping a “gas guzzler” which is more than 9 years old. The U.S. government is debating a similar measure at this time.