When I advocated for the commercial truck dealer industry at ATD’s Legislative Fly-In in June and NADA’s Washington Conference just last week at the Nation’s Capital, I stood shoulder to shoulder with truck dealers and Automotive Trade Association Executives, also known as ATAEs. ATAEs are the boots on the ground at the state and local level, fighting to protect the dealer business at every turn through critical issues. To better secure the future of our great industry, truck dealers should engage with their ATAEs and auto dealer associations.
I’m a proud member of my state trucking association in Colorado, and I’m also part of my state’s auto dealer association. State and metro dealer associations are your Voice on franchise issues—and they’re equipped to advocate for us on state issues and dealer licensing laws that impact our daily dealership operations. The reality is franchise laws cover all truck dealers throughout the 50 states, and each state’s franchise law is different. We should be engaging with our ATAEs on the respective issues we’re facing locally, whether it’s a war on taxes or battles in our state legislature. We’re not in this alone, and our ATAEs are our eyes and ears for local issues.
Throughout my experience with the Colorado Auto Dealers Association (CADA), I’ve found that truck dealers’ priorities generally align with auto dealers. I’ve worked with CADA leaders on franchise battles, diesel technician recruitment, urgent recalls, small business tax issues, and much more. Your dealer association and ATAEs are also there at a moment’s notice during times of crisis and natural disasters. Their grassroots response is often second to none and they have the resources to respond quickly and efficiently.
I encourage ATD members to contact their state dealer associations and grow their networks. Connect with other truck dealers locally and share your challenges and successes in your markets. Finally, if you aren’t a member of your local association, consider serving on your association’s board if there is a truck dealer position, or run for a leadership seat.
As ATD Chairman, I’m also proud to sit on the NADA board and Executive Committee. It’s important to engage with leaders of the auto industry because truck dealers add a very important and nuanced voice in the discussions. We can learn from each other, and we are much stronger together. The more representation truck dealers have in their state and local associations, the more impactful these organizations become and the more powerful the truck dealer voice becomes. Having a seat at the table ultimately impacts both the truck dealers and your businesses in a positive way.
Every truck dealer should get to know the people they can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with through the year. Like truck dealers, ATAEs are holding the front lines—working to make sure franchise laws are strong and our truck dealer business is prepared for the future. Engage with them today!
If you would like to connect with your state’s Automotive Trade Association Executive or ATAE, please contact ATD President, Laura Perrotta at firstname.lastname@example.org