The American Truck Dealers (ATD) Show 2019 was a resounding success. The passion, dedication and hard work of our association shined bright in San Francisco last week. The show included the ATD Industry Roundtable, workshops, make meetings and special industry and networking events with hundreds of truck dealers and guests from across the country.
Here are some of the show highlights:
ATD’s week, along with NADA, began with a $50,000 donation to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank to assist with the purchase of a new refrigerated commercial box truck. We wholeheartedly support the food bank so its dedicated workers can transport meals to residents in need. This is a wonderful example of how trucks continuously move critical products and the important role truck dealerships play in communities across the country.
We also launched the NADA Foundation’s Workforce Initiative on Jan. 25. After speaking and collaborating with the White House last June, it’s clear the entire nation is experiencing a crisis in the job force and our dealerships are not immune. Truck dealerships will need thousands of skilled technicians within the next 10 years or our service departments—and customers—could be impacted. The workforce initiative is designed to promote the benefits of dealership jobs, and we’re targeting future technicians through a national campaign and new website, NADAFoundation.org.
This website is the only place where prospective technicians can: find out the locations of training centers and schools in one place regardless of the OEM; learn about all potential scholarships in every state; and through videos gain insight from other technicians about what their jobs and lifestyles are like. I encourage all ATD members, and OEMs and suppliers, to get involved because we all have a stake in the future of the industry.
Along with this initiative, attendees at the ATD Show heard an engaging address from Ron Armstrong, CEO of PACCAR. During Friday’s general session, Armstrong acknowledged mutual concerns concerning the shortage in technicians at truck dealerships. PACCAR for Kenworth and Peterbilt donated $50,000 to the NADA Foundation in support of our great cause to attract, recruit and retain technicians throughout our industry.
I was honored to speak to you—ATD friends and family—about the exciting and fast-paced year we had. Truck dealers are tireless, tough and optimistic. In the past year, we experienced the high points of a robust market. Because of your hard work and resilience, our sales soared in 2018. Retail truck sales hit historic levels, and we are selling the cleanest, most fuel-efficient and advanced trucks ever.
I want you to know ATD is working fervently on your behalf on the steps of Capitol Hill. We are continuing our push to repeal the federal excise tax (FET) once and for all. We announced the launch of an industry-wide coalition, Modernize the Truck Fleet, to end the FET.
The coalition includes ATD; the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (whose members are Daimler Trucks North America, Navistar, PACCAR, Volvo Group North America and Cummins); NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry; and Truck Renting & Leasing Association. We are united behind the goals to repeal the harmful FET and find an acceptable replacement for lost revenue so that there is a long-term solution for funding our highways and modernizing America’s fleets. Please stay up-to-date on this issue since it will be our No. 1 priority this year and we need each of you to help.
Most of all, I would like to thank ATD members who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the ATD Show in San Francisco. I appreciate your engagement throughout the past week because it would not have been a celebration without you. I also thank every sponsor and exhibitor who worked so hard on the expo floor, the OEMs at make meetings, and all who attended the ATD events to make this a great show. Finally, I thank all our guest speakers and special presenters, including our ATD team, who presented at Saturday’s general session.
This is a team effort. Let’s continue this momentum in 2019. ATD will be with you every step of the way.
Teuton is vice president of Kenworth of Louisiana, a full-service dealership with locations in Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport, a full-service Hino dealership in Baton Rouge; and Southland Truck Leasing at all locations. ATD, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, represents more than 1,800 medium- and heavy-duty truck dealerships.