As a second-generation dealer, I’ve seen the truck dealer business evolve and change in many ways. But this is the best time to be a dealer and take advantage of the opportunities to usher in a new era in our industry. Trucks are vital to America and dealers everywhere are working hard to meet new customer demands where an electric future is possible.
Trucks are expensive to purchase and operate. During the 2022 ATD Show, I had the opportunity to address the supply shortage that all truck dealers are facing. During a Live Stage session, I highlighted how the truck industry is seeing an evolution in power sources—not just toward electrification of the fleet, but also alternative sources of fuel like compressed natural gas and liquified petroleum. The biggest obstacles toward moving newer and greener trucks are supply chain issues and a lack of inventory. Truck dealers everywhere are working hard to meet customer demand despite the difficulties of empty lots and a shortage of stock vehicles. Many dealers have already placed orders for the first half of 2023 as a precaution.
The goods news is we’re moving forward. Our industry has rebounded despite the harsh circumstances of the past two years. Business is good and dealers have sold 7% more units in 2021 than in 2020. And this year, we will safeguard the dealer business for the future.
ATD will continue to tackle overly stringent and unrealistic emissions standards from both CARB and EPA, like the “Cleaner Trucks Initiative.” America’s truck dealers have been working toward a cleaner and more sustainable commercial transportation future. But we also know this reality depends on sensible policies. Dealers support one set of national standards, but only if they are practical and cost-effective for our customers.
ATD will continue to advocate for dealers. In April, ATD will present testimony on EPA’s proposed NOx rule and will let regulators know that CARB’s standards don’t work as a national standard. In fact, they could disrupt the entire U.S. trucking industry by dramatically raising costs for customers; increasing unemployment; and delaying the purchase of newer and safer trucks.
All commercial truck dealers should get involved in their local new-car dealer associations at the state level. Your dealer association needs your voice and participation as we transition to alternative forms of propulsion. We need to be proactive. Our position must be heard and not dictated by environmental coalition groups. Dealers fully support a cleaner environment. But we need to find a solution that is sustainable for all parties.
Education and training are key in meeting the unique challenges ahead. I encourage all dealers to take advantage of ATD’s resources. The industry’s best training and educational resources are just a visit away on our ATD website. My three sons—Adam, Zach, and Corey—all graduated from the ATD Academy. It’s the most tailored education they could receive outside of my dealership. I encourage dealers to take advantage of every one of ATD’s resources. They are some of the greatest tools at your disposal.
It’s a complete honor to step in this role and serve as your ATD Chairman. There is no slowing down in the truck dealer business and I look forward to a very successful year with all of you!