In his final remarks as ATD Chairman, Scott McCandless, challenged the audience of heavy-duty truck dealers at the 2024 ATD Show in Las Vegas to engage and educate their government representatives.
“Invite lawmakers to your dealerships,” McCandless, the president of McCandless Truck Center in Aurora, Colo., said. “Help them understand our business and the fleets and small businesses we serve. Don’t just tell them; show them.”
Last May, McCandless joined Hank Fracalossi at his dealership, Tri-County International in Dearborn, Mich., to host a small group of EPA staff members. They used the experience to educate the regulators on the challenges and opportunities when selling and servicing EVs as they develop their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Phase 3 rule.
“It was clear to me and hopefully to the EPA staff that there was a knowledge gap,” McCandless said. “Our message was focused on the need for zero emission vehicles to be affordable, reliable, and to meet the needs of the customers. The trucks must pencil out for the customer in the long-run or they will not be purchased.”
Part of that knowledge gap was the infrastructure requirements to sell and service zero emission vehicles. For example, because of the battery location of some electric trucks, the vehicles have to be lifted six feet off the ground to be serviced. For many facilities, this requires raising the ceiling height of the service bays, which is a substantial investment.
“We invest in our dealerships every day – in our employees, our equipment, our facilities,” said McCandless. “We are ready to sell whatever power train the manufacturers provide. But the technology has to match the customer’s needs. And, in most cases, the technology isn’t there yet.”
With the current technology and infrastructure, it takes at least two ZEV medium-duty trucks to do the job of one comparable diesel. These are the kind of real-world experiences that McCandless wants dealers to share with legislators and regulators, and there is evidence it is working.
After ongoing input from ATD, NADA and dealers across the country, the EPA delayed the finalization of the greenhouse gas rule, which was originally supposed to be finalized in December 2023.
This wasn’t the only significant milestone of McCandless’ term, which also saw:
- Record membership levels,
- Record ATD Academy graduates,
- Formalization of an ATD NextGen program for future dealership leaders and the establishment of a NextGen Steering Committee,
- Sold-out 2023 ATD Truck Industry Forum and Legislative Fly-In,
- Development and commencement of a three-year strategic plan and
- Expansion of the Board of Line Representatives to include four new seats, ensuring that every major line of truck dealer is represented.
“These past two years as your Chairman have been anything but boring,” McCandless said. “Truck dealers have had a lot thrown at us, and instead of getting discouraged or complacent, ATD members are getting more engaged.”