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CHICAGO — In mid-May, the Windy City will play host to a slew of auto industry presentations, workshops and insight, as the Automotive Economic Forecast and Financial Forum along with the National Vehicle Leasing Association's Annual Conference — two separate events — will be held back-to-back in Chicago.

The Automotive Economic Forecast and Financial Forum will take place May 10-11 at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile.

It will feature a wide variety of experts who can help paint a picture of where the industry is headed. The conference will examine current state of the U.S. auto industry, as well as offer a future outlook.

The content and presentations are geared toward: automotive industry executives, banking and finance industry executives, allied industry executives, dealer group executives, supplier and aftermarket executives, economists, and analysts from a broad spectrum of new and pre-owned automotive sales, manufacturing, leasing, financing and aftermarket arenas.

Its lineup of speakers includes:

—Sudarshan Mhatre, senior analysts, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Autofacts.

—Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, chief economist, Ford Motor Co.

—Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist, Wells Fargo Securities.

—William Strauss, senior economist and economic adviser, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

—Bernard Swiecki, director of market analysis, Center for Automotive Research.

—Melinda Zabritski, director of automotive credit, Experian Automotive.

—Tom Kontos, executive vice president of customer strategies and analytics, ADESA.

—Matt Traylen, chief economist and client partner, ALG.

—Tammy Darvish, DARCARS.

To access registration, hotel and travel information, as well as sponsorship details, the latest news about the conference and agenda information, visit www.automotiveforecastforum.com.

If you register for the conference before Monday, you can enjoy the early bird registration rate of $695. However, after that, registration costs increases to $795. 

Contact Marilu McQuilkin, director of meetings and events, at (800) 608-7500 or mmquilkin@sacherokee.com for more information.

On the days following the Automotive Economic Forecast and Financial Forum, the NVLA will hold its conference May 12-14 at the Hotel Monaco in Chicago.

Among other presentations, it will include a keynote address from Jeff Schuster, executive director of automotive forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates, who will deliver the "U.S. Light Vehicle Market Outlook."

The NVLA will also include a general sessions on:


—2010 Accounting and Legal Issues.

—Social Networking for Small Businesses, led by Liz Strauss, the chief executive officer and founder of SOBCon.

—Entrenomics — Small Business Consultants 

—I Need Money. How to create a bank book and increase the chances of securing funding.

There will also be a pre-conference workshop on "How to Spec a Truck" and a breakfast session on "Additional Leasing Options (Equipment Leasing Broker & Lessor," among other activities.

Register at www.nvla.org, and call (866) 610-0081 to book a hotel room. Officials urge registrants to reference NVLA to get the $189 (plus tax) special conference rate for a room.