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Automotive Summit Series to Feature AutoNation, DARCARS, DCH Auto, Facebook, Ford, Gartner, Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, Volvo, and More on June 14 and 15, 2011

Automotive Summit Series to Feature AutoNation, DARCARS, DCH Auto, Facebook, Ford, Gartner, Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, Volvo, and More on June 14 and 15, 2011


BOULDER, CO — March 14, 2011 ▬ Thought Leadership Summits, Inc. (TLS), today announced the lineup of executives speaking at the Automotive Summit Series, which includes two events: the Automotive Customer Centricity Summit on June 14, 2011, and the Automotive Social Media Summit on June 15, 2011. Both events will take place at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, CA.


Each Summit offers a full-day agenda and provides an exclusive environment for senior executives from OEMs, Dealers, and Captive Finance providers. Unlike typical trade shows, the Summits feature exclusive sponsors and strictly limited vendor involvement. They provide a unique setting for learning and networking with fellow thought leaders — creating opportunities for individuals and companies to move the automobile industry forward. More information on the Summit Series is available at


“I’ve been on the agenda of both the Automotive Customer Centricity Summit and the Automotive Social Media Summit before, and look forward to speaking again this year,” said Gary Marcotte, Senior Vice President of Marketing at AutoNation. “I really appreciate that TLS is executing a different model that offers high-quality engagement and creates real value for their delegates, as that’s exactly what we’re focused on doing for our customers at AutoNation. I’ve always had a really positive experience and am looking forward to participating in the Summit again in June.”


Automotive Customer Centricity Summit — June, 14, 2011

Now in its seventh year, the Automotive Customer Centricity Summit is the only summit dedicated to helping the automotive industry improve customer relationships. In 2011, the theme is “Survive to Thrive – Maximizing Customer Value in a Slow Growth Economy.”


The Summit will focus on utilizing customer relationships to strengthen OEM, Dealer, and Captive performance in the face of slow, unpredictable improvements in the economy. A few of the topics to be covered include:

  • Overview of key market and technology trends
  • DCH’s low-stress car buying strategy
  • Hyundai’s success creating true customer engagement
  • Paragon Honda’s 20 new ideas that spurred growth
  • Volkswagen’s philosophy on loyalty
  • Univision’s view of the Hispanic auto market

Keynote Presentation — The Summit will feature a keynote address from Thilo Koslowski, Vice President & Lead Automotive Analyst at Gartner, which will focus on the challenges and opportunities technology is creating for the auto industry, and how effective collaboration between OEMs, Dealers, and Captives is the next step in the evolution of customer centricity.


Keynote Continuum Presentation — Many past delegates requested continuity between Summits, so for 2011, we’ve added a follow-up presentation to the 2010 keynote address. Hyundai will return to provide an update on their Assurance, Blue Drive, and Connections (ABC) Strategy. Jon Budd, National Manager of CRM & Interactive Marketing at Hyundai will explain how Hyundai and their dealers have successfully strengthened their engagement with current customers and developed an improved customer experience to attract a new type of buyer to the Hyundai brand.


Featured Presentation — Also featured on the agenda is George Liang, President of DCH Automotive. His presentation will delve into the consumer experience in the showroom and why most consumers have a poor opinion of the purchase process. DCH Auto believes consumers highly value a low-stress car buying experience and that delivering such an experience creates a competitive advantage. George will discuss how DCH is responding to the growing segment of car buyers who are shunning traditional car shopping negotiation tactics for a more simplified and transparent car buying process.


The full agenda for the Automotive Customer Centricity Summit features:

  • George Liang, President — DCH Automotive
  • Mary Lou Quesnell, General Sales Manager, Customer Service — Ford
  • Thilo Koslwoski, VP & Lead Automotive Analyst — Gartner
  • Toby Hynes, President & General Manager — Gulf States Toyota
  • Allan Jenik, Director, Dealer Services — Harley-Davidson
  • Jon Budd, National Manager, CRM & Interactive Marketing — Hyundai
  • Chip Wells, Vice President, Strategic Customer Focus — John Deere Financial
  • Brian Benstock, Vice President & General Manager — Paragon Honda
  • Andrew Pine, General Manager, Customer Relations — Porsche
  • Sara Hasson, Vice President, Automotive Brand Solutions — Univision
  • Mike Sachs, General Manager, CRM & Loyalty — Volkswagen of America

Automotive Social Media Summit — June 15, 2011

Due to overwhelming industry interest in social media, the 2011 Social Media Summit has evolved into a full-day event with a theme of “Multi-Task Like a Millennial – Leveraging Multiple Media Simultaneously.” It is the only summit focused exclusively on social media in the auto industry.


Consumer trust in social media is rising — even as reliance on traditional media continues to fall. This year’s Summit will focus on the challenge of leveraging the still-new “established” social media while learning about emerging technologies. For Dealers and OEMs that successfully interact with consumers through social media, the result can be a distinct competitive advantage.


The Social Media Summit will provide real-world examples and strategies to help achieve positive ROI through social media strategies. A few of the topics to be covered include:

  • AutoNation’s success creating true customer engagement
  • DARCARS’ social media strategy
  • Ford’s “Focus Rally America” program
  • Hyundai of St. Augustine’s low-cost online reputation management
  • Volvo’s use of social media to connect with Millennials
  • Nissan’s strategy to ensure a consistent brand image across social media channels

Keynote Presentation — The keynote address will come from Tamara Darvish, the Vice President of DARCARS Automotive. Her presentation will review the strategy DARCARS has developed to address the challenge of the explosion of different social media and how DARCARS plans to leverage social media to improve collaboration with OEMs, their own personnel, and most importantly — their customers.


Keynote Continuum Presentation — The Summit will also have a follow-up presentation from the 2010 keynote speaker, Gary Marcotte, Senior Vice President of Marketing at AutoNation. Gary will return to inform the delegates if AutoNation has successfully used social media to engage with their customers, and if this has helped them reach their goal of developing true customer loyalty.


Featured Presentation — Also featured on the agenda is Jeff Eggen, Experiential Marketing Manager at Ford. His presentation will discuss how to “Break Through” and gain exposure by combining the power of reality TV, social media, and online gaming. Jeff will explain how Ford's “Focus Rally America” attracted millions of consumers to ride along on a five-week "virtual test drive" in the new Ford Focus. He’ll also provide the results that demonstrate how this groundbreaking program not only built mass awareness of a new product, but also drove deep program engagement, product advocacy, and consumer sharing.


The full agenda for the Automotive Social Media Summit features:

  • Elizabeth Barrera, IT Director — Ancira Enterprises
  • Gary Marcotte, Senior Vice President, Marketing — AutoNation
  • Tamara Darvish, Vice President — DARCARS
  • Doug Frisbie, Automotive Strategist — Facebook
  • Jeff Eggen, Experiential Marketing Manager — Ford
  • Thilo Koslowski, Vice President & Lead Automotive Analyst — Gartner
  • Andrew DiFeo, General Manager — Hyundai of St. Augustine
  • Monica Peterson, Digital Marketing Manager — Lexus
  • Don Foy, Executive Director — Manheim
  • Robert Brown, Senior Manager, Social Media Marketing — Nissan
  • Linda Gangeri, Manager, National Advertising — Volvo

About Thought Leadership Summits

Thought Leadership Summits, Inc. (TLS) develops and executes exclusive, executive Summits, which enable the exchange of ideas, strategies, and tactics among the world’s best companies — helping our constituents maximize the return on their strategic investments. Learn more at


Media Contact:


Jon Munzel


Thought Leadership Summits


Tags: 14, 15, 2011, Auto, AutoNation, Automotive, DARCARS, DCH, Facebook, Feature, More…Ford, Gartner, Hyundai, June, More, Nissan, Series, Summit, Volkswagen, Volvo, and, on, to

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