By Steve Bassett, Chairman, American Truck Dealers

As I sit here and contemplate everything we’ve been through over 11 months, I can hardly believe we’re in the last few weeks of 2021. First and foremost, I hope this message reaches all of you in good health and spirits, and that your dealership families have remained safe throughout the year. ATD would like to extend its deepest gratitude to all our truck dealer members—the resilient men and women—who continued to make the commercial truck industry go ‘round. It’s time to pause and take stock of all we’ve accomplished together.

We began the year with a new Administration in D.C. and a ‘new normal’ in our daily lives. Our industry enjoyed a healthy optimism as truck orders began a resurgence and set records in the early part of the year. I’m proud of ATD’s work to advocate quickly and efficiently for our businesses during that precarious time. Some of the safeguards we had did not happen overnight.

When it came to the new infrastructure bill, ATD and NADA leadership engaged with lawmakers often because we knew this legislation would impact us tremendously. On another front, we knew that the Environmental Protection Agency’s pending Clean Trucks Rule could significantly disrupt the U.S. trucking marketplace and delay the country’s transition to ZEVs. So, we met with EPA Administrator Michael Regan and worked with industry partners (OEMs, ATA, EMA/TMA, and suppliers) to present our case and fight for mandates that are practical.

This year has been punctuated by ups and downs, bumps and bruises, good news and bad…But I rarely see an industry, a people, and a community as strong and courageous as ours. We marched on despite a critical chip shortage, supply chain issues, and the stress of managing different pandemic rules throughout the country. Despite our ATD Industry Forum being canceled in June due to COVID restrictions, we continued to gain ground on the EV issue. ATD attended an important White House stakeholder meeting on the National EV Charging Network. And through concerted efforts with industry partners, ATD joined the Partners for a Zero Emission Vehicle Future just last month. This coalition will help support the market transition to heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles. But as with all difficult things: we must press forward and engage with legislators as we are our best advocates.

There are many uncertainties in the future. But one thing I am sure of is the spirit of service that abounds within ATD. I am surrounded by fellow dealers who are ready and eager to advocate for our businesses every day. Please check out our ATD Board and get to know our entire leadership. I’m proud to work with these amazing men and women who serve as your line representatives. Please reach out to them and weigh in on the issues we’re facing today; or simply thank them for all their hard work through the year.

As our dealerships continue to recover and grow, don’t underestimate the power of communication. Thank you for participating in the OEM and Supplier dealer attitude surveys this year—because it’s the best way ATD can advocate on your behalf with the manufacturers. ATD navigated COVID restrictions once again and presented the results both in-person and virtually as needed. We look forward to meeting and sharing the results of the supplier dealer attitude survey next Spring.

If you need a new year’s resolution, try this: Take full advantage of your ATD membership. ATD continues to support dealers through top-notch education programs such as our 20 Group, Dealer Academy, online courses, Driven publications, and more. And if you’re not already an ATD member, consider joining today. You’ll probably use it more than your gym membership.

Finally, if you haven’t already, please register for the new and improved 2022 ATD Show in Las Vegas, March 10-13. I am excited to see you all as we come together for our first ATD reunion since this pandemic began. It’ll be our time to celebrate all these achievements while looking toward the challenges of the next few years. If I haven’t made it clear yet, I want you to know: ATD is always here to support you! We have moved mountains through a historic year. When I became your Chairman in Feb. 2020, I told you this:

“We dealers—the small-town businesses of America—and sure, maybe even a band of misfits from every state—have many odds against us. Yet, we persevere and win each and every day! Because in the end, we are a giant TEAM.”

I have never felt that resonate more than it does today. On behalf of ATD, I wish you, your families and your employees a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season!

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association