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Northwood University hosts NUCARS 2019

Read more below about the history of NUCARS, discover the inspiration for the business simulation, see the schedule for 2019, register and more using the links below! 

History of NUCARS

The first actual NU-CARS (then referred to as ICARS) was held in Geislingen, Germany in 1997. The program was first introduced to Northwood by Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance, California. Toyota developed it to help train their Management Trainees and dealers. They brought it to our campuses and presented it to our students starting in the early 1990’s. At a point in time, through negotiations with Dr. Serum and Dr. Fry, Toyota gave us the rights to use the simulation for our students and to use it internationally for NU-CARS.  For the first several years of NU-CARS Toyota personnel were on hand to administer and/or oversee the simulation. This ended about 2003. Since then we have presented the simulation ourselves.

The Toyota simulation is about a dealership that is in financial difficulty. The new owners (the players of the simulation) are charged with rescuing it and restoring it to profitability. In addition, they must improve the dealership’s customer satisfaction scores and meet stringent requirements of Toyota as to facilities and operating procedures. 

The participants are given a decision book that lists many possible choices within each major department of the dealership (New Vehicle Sales, Used Vehicle Sales, Service, and Parts). From these they must select three per department per quarter. They have only four quarters to affect change. This puts a premium on prioritizing decisions and selecting the optimum choices to gain maximum results in the three areas listed above (profits, customer satisfaction, factory requirements). The decisions of each team are then fed into the computer and the results are printed out for each team. The teams can then review their decisions and see the impact they had on achieving the desired results. This immediate feedback is one reason that the simulation has enjoyed such success. It is a forced-choice model in that participants must select from a given list and can only choose three per department per quarter. Other simulations like GMAC’s are open-ended in that the students decide on the input.

The uniqueness of this simulation is in the international component. Our students have a decided advantage in that the dealership is an American dealership and the market is an American market. In addition, our students are more prepared, having studied the American market much more extensively than international students. We, therefore, look to our students to be “team leaders” for each of the teams (which are equally divided among all schools). But the dynamics of international teams forces everyone to rethink their ideas about marketing and negotiation techniques. This environment is very different than most that you will find in regular class studies. Because the simulation is very goal directed it is common to see rather heated discussions about which alternatives will yield the best result.

In March 2014, NU MI hosted NUCARS program piloting Strat Sim program (with Automotive case study). Group leaders have decided to continue using Strat Sim for future programs.

Learn more about the upcoming NUCARS by clicking the links below: 

How does NUCARS work? 


2019 Schedule

2019 Sponsors (coming soon)

Keynote Speakers (coming soon)

Register Now

2019 Costs Per Person

Participation fee – 150 Euros

Dorm Room - $40/night

On-campus hotel room - $65/night

Participating Schools

HfWU Nuertingen-Geislingen

Location: Nuertingen/Geislingen, Germany

Students: 4,900


The Nürtingen-Geislingen University can look back on almost half a century of proud tradition. Founded in 1949 as a College of Agricultural Engineering, it was converted into a University of Applied Sciences in 1972 and later got its current name "Nürtingen-Geislingen University". Today, the degree programmes have been greatly enhanced by the strong core competencies in business, economic and environmental studies prevalent at the university. The Nürtingen-Geislingen University offers a number of bachelor and master degree programmes at its campuses in Nürtingen and Geislingen.


Please consult the website of BFC-Northeim for more information.



Location: Angers, Paris, Bordeaux, Aix-en-Provence, Cholet, Lyon, Budapest, Shanghai

Students: 3,000


ESSCA equips students and managers for a successful and sustainable career while taking fully into account the human and social dimensions of a globalized world. This is achieved through high level academic and professional management programs, developed by a research-active faculty, a strong student mentoring system and respect for the traditional humanist values on which the school was founded.

Jilin University – Lambton College

Location: Changchun, China

Students: 1,145


Jilin University – Lambton College (JULC) is a Sino–foreign education institute co-operative affiliated with Jilin University, which is officially approved by the Ministry of Education of China. Established in 1999, JULC offers undergraduate education, and produces well-rounded graduates in the fields of Business Administration and Information Technology. The four North American partners are Northwood University (US), Lambton College (US), Memorial University of Newfoundland (US), and The College of the North Atlantic in Canada.

Business Academy Aarhus

Location: Viby J, Denmark

Students: 7,600


Business Academy Aarhus develops and offers practice-orientated higher education programmes. With more than 4,200 full-time students, 3,400 part-time students and about 400 employees we are one of the largest business academies in Denmark.

Copenhagen Business Academy

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Students: 13,000


Copenhagen Business Academy is the largest business academy in Denmark with 5,800 full time students, 7,200 part time students and about 380 employees.

IVA Driebergen Business School

Location: Driebergen-Rijsenburg, Netherlands

Student Number: 1,000


IVA Driebergen Business School is an independent private school that provides vocational education for technical/commercial, organizational and managerial positions in the automotive trade and industry. Since its foundation in 1930, IVA Driebergen has made a name as the Institute that educates enterprising students. Entrepreneurial education, highly adapted to the requirements of the automotive and nautical trade and industry, is central to the IVA curriculum. Due to the entrepreneurial character of the curriculum, IVA graduates can also be found in many other lines of work, ranging from oilrig construction to accounting firms. In addition, quite a few IVA graduates start their own business during or after their education.

Northwood University

Location: Midland, Michigan, USA

Students: 6,829


With a clearly articulated mission to develop the future leaders of a global, free-enterprise society, Northwood University is expanding its presence in national and international venues. Professors are engaged in economic and policy dialogue; students are emerging as champions in regional and national academic competitions. At all campuses and in all divisions, Northwood University is energized and is actively pursuing dynamic programming and increased influence.