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NEW YORK — The National Automobile Dealers Association revealed Tuesday that a speech by Chrysler Group chief executive Sergio Marchionne will kick off the Automotive Forum 2010.

The event is sponsored by NADA and IHS Global Insight and hosted by the New York International Auto Show. It also will include more than 25 other top industry executives. It's scheduled for the New York Marriott Marquis in Manhattan on March 30.

"The forum is a rare opportunity for automakers, dealers and suppliers to come together in one location and share insights on where the auto industry is headed after nearly two years of turmoil," explained Ed Tonkin, chairman of NADA.

The event will include several panel discussions and presentations that fall under its theme, "Transformation of the U.S. Economy and the Auto Industry."

Mike Jackson, AutoNation's chief executive, will moderate an automaker panel, which includes:

—James Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA.

—Jim Farley, group vice president for global marketing at Ford.

—Stefan Jacoby, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America.

—John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda.

—Jim O'Donnell, president of BMW of North America.

Beyond that OEM executive panel, NADA indicated several other top executives plan to share their thoughts. That contingent includes:

—Susan Scarola, chief executive of DCH Auto Group.

—Earl Hesterberg, chief executive of Group 1 Automotive.

—Nariman Behravesh, chief economist of HIS Global Insight.

The association added that Alex Taylor, senior editor of Fortune, will moderate a media panel discussion.

"With the perspectives from 26 industry leaders and panel sessions led by top auto executives, the forum will be highly informative and establish a strong dialogue among all of the attendees," Tonkin stressed.

The association also mentioned that the registration fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch and a reception hosted by Google from 6 to 8 p.m. Furthermore, the first 200 registrants can receive a complimentary pass to attend the auto show's press preview days on March 31 and April 1.

NADA went on to highlight why this event is so beneficial to the industry.

After the credit meltdown, rising unemployment and housing bust, NADA pointed out that new-vehicle sales plummeted to 10.4 million units in 2009, which was a 21-percent decline from the previous year. Officials added that many analysts predict U.S. new-vehicle sales will rise to nearly 12 million units this year.

In solid growth years, new-car and -truck sales have typically accounted for nearly 20 percent of total U.S. retail sales activity, according to NADA Data reports. During the past two years, NADA noted that percentage has dropped significantly.

"A healthy auto industry is essential for an economic recovery," Tonkin reiterated.

"The introduction of new exciting vehicles, rising consumer confidence and credit availability for both dealers and consumers are key factors that could help boost U.S. auto sales in the coming months," he concluded.

For more information or to register, dealers and industry executives can visit www.autoforumny.com. NADA indicated that seating is limited.