ATD had a tremendous 2019—a year full of challenges and achievements—and we couldn’t have done it without our passionate and hard-working dealers across the nation.
Truck dealers had the second-best sales year of all time—with medium-duty sales reaching 250,744 and heavy-duty sales reaching 276,348. In fact, class 8 trucks had their best sales year since 2006 and manufacturers struggled to keep up with customer demand. In 2019, our total market was up 8 percent compared to 2018, but we have to brace for the headwinds this coming year. After we saw solid sales gains for the past two years, 2020 is likely to bring a slow-down in the commercial vehicle market. ATD projections show that both medium- and heavy-duty sales may decline this year and we will, then, see an uptick in 2020 and beyond. One thing is for sure: our dealer model remains strong and that at the heart of our longevity are passionate and hard-working men and women who are ready to serve customers.
I’m especially proud of the amazing strides we’ve made toward the advancement of ATD and the benefit of the commercial truck industry as a whole. We hit the ground running last January with a newly built coalition that aims to repeal the onerous federal excise tax which adds up to $20,000 to the average price of a new truck and delays fleet turnover. This has been an ongoing battle but last year we saw the industry fight together. ATD is proud to be part of the Modernize the Truck Fleet (MTF) Coalition which consists of dealers, manufacturers, and industry partners. As we move forward and continue our efforts, we will continue seeking bipartisan legislation that ends the FET and know that we have strong allies by our side.
We also came together to tackle the workforce shortage and we’ve been working especially hard to promote technician careers in our dealerships. There is no time to waste when it comes to filling the thousands of diesel technician positions that are open and waiting. We have reached a crisis point and ATD and NADA have led the charge with the Foundation’s workforce initiative, announced at last year’s Show. ATD has been working with our OEMs and we’ve been targeting training centers to find and recruit future employees. Our workforce website is unique and features videos of real people with excellent careers in our business. I’m proud to say that our fundraising has been successful, and we are grateful to receive several sponsors including from truck OEMs like PACCAR, Isuzu and Ford.
Finally, I encourage all dealer members to keep putting in a day’s hard work because it makes all the difference in our industry. Make your voices heard by participating in the dealership attitude survey which we revamped last fall so that it’s more user-friendly and intuitive for participants. The results of the survey are how we advocate on your behalf with the OEMs and suppliers. Take advantage of our educational resources like the ATD Academy which proudly produces new graduates every year—men and women who are better equipped to tackle the challenges of the future. And, as always, continue building relationships with members of Congress and host them at your dealerships if you can. That’s exactly what Bob Nuss, president of Nuss Truck & Equipment in Burnsville, Minn., did when he hosted President Donald Trump and senior White House advisors for a roundtable discussion last April. I was also proud to meet with White House staff last summer to discuss economic issues that are affecting our businesses. Truck dealers will undoubtedly see a wave of technological change and new mandates so we must have a seat at the table before these decisions are handed down from the nation’s capital. For more highlights from ATD in 2019, please click here.
On behalf of ATD, thank you for a memorable time as your Chairwoman and thank you for a wonderful and successful 2019! I look forward to seeing you at the 2020 Show in Las Vegas, let’s make the most out of this year!