Special Coverage

NADA Convention & Exposition

In the Lion’s Den

Reynolds and Reynolds CEO Bob Brockman and Vice Chairman Fin O’Neill created a stir Saturday night when they showed up at the Cobalt Group’s annual party at the National Automobile Dealers’ Assn. convention here.

Cobalt’s CEO John Holt is one of the forces behind Open Secure Access, a consortium of third-party application developers protesting Reynolds strict data integration and security strategy.

The strategy potentially limits third-party access to the Reynolds’ dealer-management system, which has led to some not so friendly discussions and barbs in the press.

Talking with a reporter, O’Neill grins and says, “We’re in the lion’s den.”

Sure Bet

A major Southern California Ford dealer says he recently rebuffed offers from a neighboring Lexus dealership to buy the land on which his dealership sits because, he says, he believes in the domestic brand.

The dealer conveys his decision to stick with Ford at a make meeting with the auto maker here, telling new CEO Alan Mulally he is going to continue riding that horse.

“I’m betting on you,” he tells Mulally.

Says Mulally: “That’s good, because you don’t want to bet against me.”

Mother’s Son

Speaking of Alan Mulally, his parents were longtime customers of incoming National Automobile Dealers Assn. Chairman Dale Willey, who has owned a General Motors brand dealership for more than 30 years in Lawrence, KS.

Willey says he spoke with Mulally’s mother a few months ago, telling her that her son is the right man for the job, and if anyone can turn things around at Ford it’s him.

“Do you think so?” Mulally’s mother responds. “I do hope you’re right.”