When I look around and see flowers in bloom and new foliage on the trees, I’m reminded that spring is a season of newness and renewal. All commercial-truck dealers would benefit from bringing a spirit of renewed energy to our own lives. In the truck business, our vocational customers go to work in the spring and we, as dealers, must be ready for new business and the next cycle of servicing customers. I’ve personally had great moments of revived energy throughout the year, particularly at our most recent ATD Show and Automotive Forum, thanks to a host of inspirational speakers and the chance to network with the best and brightest in our industry. I urge all dealers to take advantage of these select opportunities where you can do an internal “spring cleaning” and bring some fresh air to your business.
When it comes to newness, all members should be aware that the next ATD Show has a new date in 2020: February 14-17. ATD is excited to return to Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world and one of our most popular show locations. Attendees will hear from a new array of speakers, just as they did at our last show. For those who did not attend ATD Show 2019, I’d like to briefly highlight Kat Cole, the COO and president of Focus Brands for North America. Kat was a keynote speaker at the NADA Show and I had the pleasure of interviewing her on stage. She opened her first international franchise at age 19 and I personally learned about her “hot shot philosophy,” which entails learning to be your own best self-coach. Like all our show speakers, Kat provided eye-opening perspectives for anyone in the business world. If you don’t want to miss once-in-a-lifetime experiences like this, start planning to attend ATD Show 2020, because it’s never too early to prepare.
Speaking of great perspectives, I was most recently in New York City this spring for the annual Automotive Forum and I had the pleasure of hearing from Fred Diaz, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America. He spoke about the importance of diversity in how we think and how we perceive the world as business owners. This was enriched by a presentation from the legendary Bob Carter, executive vice president of Toyota Motor North America. Bob was part of a rousing discussion regarding what we can expect from the future of the industry as it relates to personal vehicle ownership and alternative powertrain strategies. At some point in the year, every NADA and ATD member would do well to attend one of our forums and listen to these important discussions with our industry’s best.
Finally, there’s a lot of debate as to how truck dealers will cope with disruption such as digital ledgers like “Blockchain” or additive manufacturing. Every industry is undergoing some form of disruption due to the rise of technology. These new elements in our business have the potential to change how we operate our dealerships day-to-day. But again, let’s look at how nature operates during this time of the year. We should embrace these changes and look at them not as disruptors, but as new beginnings. Every new element in our industry presents an opportunity for us to bloom and reach fruition.
I wish all our members a great spring season of renewal and new beginnings. I look forward to seeing you at our next ATD event.
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; full-service Hino dealerships in Baton Rouge and Monroe; and Southland Truck Leasing at all dealership locations. ATD, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, represents more than 1,800 medium- and heavy-duty truck dealerships.