The National Vehicle Leasing Association (NVLA) conference took place last week (April 18-20) at the beautiful Estancia La Jolla Hotel in California, and it was such a great opportunity to meet and network with professionals from all walks of the industry. A little unique and different from past conferences I’ve attended, there were no Fleet Managers present at the event, but more auto manufacturer representatives, small leasing companies, as well as banks, other lending institutions, insurance companies, and upfit and equipment companies.
The theme of the conference was focused on celebrating NVLA’s 50th anniversary by honoring the past, embracing the present, and defining the future in the vehicle leasing industry. The conference featured top-notch speakers and engaged panel discussions around topics in the leasing space.
Here are some of my highlights from the event:
1. Auto manufacturers gave a sneak peek into their upcoming 2019 upgrades
For me, the biggest opportunity was networking with the auto manufacturers and learning about their product updates, particularly what Nissan and General Motors will implement for their 2019 models. GM’s Marketing Manager, Connie Scarpelli shared some insights about growing and balancing commercial and government sales, unveiled what’s to come for the 2019 model year products, discussed the ‘connected vehicle’ solutions, and the company’s vision for long-term success. Additionally, Nissan gave a sneak peek into its 2019 product models and updates.
It was great to hear all about the manufacturers’ up-and-coming products, and to get a glimpse of their future vision amid all the changes happening in the industry (mainly around technology and self-driving vehicles). Another interesting session was around the topic of telematics, which discussed how driving behavior impacts everyone on a daily basis—and where the impact occurs (economic, time, insurance, fuel, etc.).
2. Residual values and the state of the market for used vehicles
One of the conference’s interesting sessions was about residual values. There were two presentations given by industry experts, followed by a panel discussion. I found these sessions really helpful and a very good update on the industry. The discussions pointed to the fact that, even though the overall market is slightly down, the individual and market segments, trucks, and SUVs remain strong in terms of their residual value (while the prices of sedans are in decline due to their oversupply).
3. The new lease accounting rules scheduled to take effect in 2019
One session was dedicated to a hot topic in leasing and fleet management—the new lease accounting rules issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that will take effect sometime in 2019. The session consisted of a brief overview of legal, legislative, tax, and accounting issues that impact lessors, and was followed by a great Q&A discussion.
4. The notable NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough as keynote speaker
While unrelated to the vehicle leasing topic, this session was truly inspiring! Kimbrough shared the story of his journey to the International Space Station, shared some really cool pictures, and talked about his experience living in space for six months.
Overall, it was a really great event and I got to meet lots of professionals who tapped into the current state of the vehicle leasing industry, as well as what’s coming ahead.