Since its inception in 1970, ATD has represented truck dealers’ interests through advocacy, education, industry relations, and more. The ATD team’s primary mission is to advocate on behalf of truck dealers before the federal government, manufacturers, suppliers, the media, and the public. Our work is constant and ATD’s goal is to make the dealer business stronger than it’s ever been.
ATD’s advocacy work before Congress and federal regulators is second to none. We have turned the tides of our industry thanks to the relationships we’ve established and our ability to have a seat at the table during critical times. Our grassroots effectively coalesce hundreds of truck dealer advocates so we can respond to long-term battles and moments of crisis, such as the onset of the global pandemic.
I will never forget ATD’s response in March 2020. ATD advocated to the White House early-on that truck dealerships are essential businesses and must remain operational for the good of the country. Our combined efforts with industry allies kept dealership doors open during that perilous time. ATD’s swift and strong responses, past and present, make the difference for truck dealers.
Advocacy efforts are ramping up for the ATD Legislative Fly-in this coming June 21-22. I’m looking forward to an in-person event in Washington, D.C. where we’ll tackle issues like overly broad regulations, unreasonable mandates, and harmful taxes like the federal excise tax (FET). ATD is determined to repeal the outdated 12% FET on heavy-duty trucks and trailers. We have established time and time again that this tax grossly inflates the price of a new truck and delays fleet turnover.
ATD can only move the needle on Capitol Hill if our dealers participate in educating Congress on our concerns with the FET, and how it deters the sale of cleaner trucks. ATD needs your dealer voices now to win this battle once and for all!
In that vein, truck dealers can also lend their voices to their state dealer associations. Join your local state dealer association and take a step further by being an active member; or run for a seat on the board; and build relationships with your state elected officials. Also get to know your Automotive Trade Association Executive, otherwise known as your ATAE, and find out how you can engage. Every truck dealer will benefit from working with their state dealer association.
ATD’s work extends far beyond advocacy. Our priority is also to establish good lines of communication and solid relationships with our manufacturers. I can’t emphasize enough how important ATD’s survey tools are: The Dealer Attitude Survey of Manufactures and the Dealer Attitude Survey of Suppliers. These annual surveys are the avenues by which OEMs and Suppliers hear directly from you! It doesn’t work without high dealer participation.
So this July, be on the lookout for your invitation to the 2022 Dealer Attitude Survey of Manufacturers. When truck dealers provide comprehensive feedback in greater response rates, the survey results carry more weight. ATD uses the results to address your concerns at meetings with senior management of each OEM. This is the time when OEMs hear your thoughts, what matters to you, and how we can make the dealer business better. And in an industry where electrification, alternative fuels, and regulation are changing the truck dealer landscape, we must ensure our relationships with the manufacturers are productive.
Finally, remember that ATD’s educational, networking, and communications tools are valuable tools for our members. The ATD Academy, the ATD 20 Group, and online webinars and courses are renowned programs designed to strengthen the longevity of the dealer business. I know this from a personal standpoint. My three sons graduated from the ATD Academy. And my COO, Kevin Coleman, is also an Academy graduate. It’s the most tailored education they could receive outside of my dealership. I encourage every truck dealer to take advantage of ATD’s hundreds of educational resources, as well as ATD Data. This report is a primary resource for reviewing the overall health of our medium- and heavy-duty truck dealerships.
ATD champions the voice of truck dealers! I hope you make your voice heard and participate. I look forward to getting the work done together!