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McLEAN, Va. — At the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo next month in Orlando, Fla., NADA and American Truck Dealers are introducing an online education and technology resource for NADA members that can help boost dealers' performances.

The launch of NADA University will feature free training and services for dealer members, who will be provided demos and access credentials on site at the convention at the NADA University booth and studio.

LightSpeed VT, a provider of interactive-based training systems focusing on the auto industry, is working with NADA and ATD to provide NADA University to dealers in a one-source format. This will blend online and classroom-based programs.

There are four "automotive centers of excellence" that are part of NADA University, and these include:

—NADA/ATD Academy: This is designed to foster build leadership skills and improve critical decision-making via executive education. This uses such resources as the NADA and ATD Dealer successor, general management and large dealer group academies, and the Babson College Executive Education program. 

—Learning Hub: This can help train dealership staff in key business functions using a wide selection of online and instructor-led courses, online seminars and workshops focused on business management, legal compliance, customer relations, human resources and fixed and variable operations.

—20 Group: This can help improve business performance and profitability through access to 20 Group expert consultants, Lifeline to Profits in-dealership consulting and workshops and the best-in-class online make-specific financial composites with programs tailored for executives, managers, and sales and service staffs.

—Resource Toolbox: Officials said this is online, on-demand, and the only place to access valuable member resources such as Driven dealer management guides on the latest developments, regulations, trends and other essential information in the auto industry impacting key business decisions and Market Insight monthly Webinars with the latest data, analysis and industry-expert panel discussions. 

It includes breaking news, NADA product support and other custom services, all of which officials said can help boost sales, performance and profits. 

"NADA University combines advanced technology with proven dealer-operations expertise to offer the most up-to-date, convenient and real-world education resource on the market today to help dealers, as well as manufacturers and related businesses, operate more efficiently and profitably for the long-term," stated NADA chairman John McEleney.

"It's absolutely essential to 'step up your game' to survive in this challenging market," McEleney added. "Keeping employees' knowledge and skills current is a necessity. With the complexities of today's marketplace and ever-changing legal and regulatory requirements, cutting corners on training may result not only in lost business, but also costly compliance penalties.

"NADA University offers the resources and the tools for accountability that are key to operating a more cost-effective and productive business," he continued. "It is the only tool that will give you all of that accessible in one online location."

Officials noted that by utilizing LightSpeed VT's interactive training systems and technology resources, NADA University presents dealers with resources and training programs that offer measurable results.

"NADA University combines the ‘best of breed' training, leadership and expertise with the most cutting-edge interactive training platform to create a powerful new resource," stated Brad Lea, chief executive officer and founder of LightSpeed VT. "In this market and economy, keeping everyone informed, motivated, trained and tracked is imperative for recovery and growth. NADA University will be an invaluable resource to its members and affiliates."

To utilize the program, NADA and ATD members can visit www.nadauniversity.com and use their member ID to activate their access. 

Officials said members can add to and maintain their list of authorized employee users to get the most out of the various training and performance resources offered for free to dealers.

Also offered are additional training and resources, which can be accessed via subscription at discounted rates for members.

Moreover, NADA emphasized that other industry professionals can also check out various industry and NADA information, purchase training and resources, and engage to share their expertise and services with dealers via NADA University sponsorships and communication channels.