By Steve Bassett, Chairman, American Truck Dealers

With a new year comes renewed hope and optimism for business owners everywhere. Our commercial truck industry is eager for a resurgence as dealers continue to recover from the challenges of the past year. I would like to highlight many of the new developments that our ATD members should be aware of in January 2021.  

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was established following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has served as a lifeline to millions of business owners and their employees. The Small Business Administration has re-opened the PPP this month and $284 billion has been made available to new borrowers and certain existing borrowers. The PPP portal fully reopened to all participating lenders on January 19. All dealers interested in a second loan should understand their eligibility. Borrowers are eligible for a second loan if they:

  • Have no more than 300 employees;
  • Received a first draw PPP loan and will use/have used the full amount only for authorized uses; and
  • Demonstrated at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

The SBA is expected to issue additional guidance on the PPP. ATD urges all truck dealers to consult with their accountants and meet critical deadlines for loan forgiveness. For more information, please review ATD’s newsletter and NADA’s all-dealer email, SBA Standing Up New PPP Loan Program, and the subsequent email updates.

Despite the difficult conditions brought by the pandemic, our industry began this year on an optimistic note. I’m proud to announce the year-end market numbers from ATD’s latest issue of Truck Beat. Commercial truck sales closed out 2020 with total sales just shy of 410,000 units. According to ACT Research, orders for Class 8 trucks in December 2020 reached their fourth-highest level ever—and marked the second straight month with orders greater than 50,000 units. Full-year orders in 2020 also beat 2019, reaching 278,400 for the year. Orders for medium-duty trucks also ended the year at a strong pace. Preliminary December orders for Class 5-7 trucks hit 31,500, marking their second-highest monthly total on record and the highest since March 2006, when orders topped 41,000 units. I commend all truck dealers for working hard through COVID-19 and continuing to drive the industry forward.

Perhaps the most significant change of 2021 is a transfer of power to the Biden Administration. ATD and NADA will continue to work for the betterment of the dealer landscape—no matter who is in the White House. I urge all ATD members to stay engaged and stay informed on our latest issues. There will be many challenges that affect your day-to-day business, and we cannot make a positive impact without your support and participation. To that end, please put the new 2021 ATD Truck Industry Forum on your radar.

ATD will host this important forum in Washington, D.C., June 22-23. This two-day event is our opportunity to bring together—for the first time in a year— truck dealers, OEMs, suppliers, allied industry and state dealer associations. I urge dealers to attend and understand the issues that will impact us for the coming year. Registration opens Feb. 22.

Finally, NADA Show 2021 is right around the corner. And for the first-time ever, the auto industry event of the year will be coming directly to you. The Show’s new all-virtual platform will allow a record number of dealers and staff to attend conveniently and cost-effectively. Please register, if you haven’t already, and attend the Show, Feb. 9-11 (discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.) This event will provide everything you’ve come to appreciate about the NADA Show, including renowned NADA workshops; a 100% virtual Expo floor; and special segments with industry leaders. Don’t forget: check out the commercial truck dealer-focused sessions happening at the Show: Position Your Dealership for the Next Pandemic and Tap into the Consumer of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

2021 is truly a year of change! We have pulled through one of the most challenging times of our lives, and I’m confident that we’re well-positioned to take advantage of the new year’s opportunities. I urge our truck dealer community to stay in contact with ATD and I look forward to seeing you in person later this year!

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association