The American Truck Dealers painted a positive overall economic outlook during its annual show last week in Las Vegas, while also making a plea to repeal the federal excise tax on truck equipment, outlining the regulatory challenges facing the industry and highlighting technological opportunities.
Patrick Manzi, one of five industry analysts representing the commercial truck industry in the ATD’s Industry Roundtable, said America’s commercial-truck dealers ended 2017 with total dealership sales up significantly from the previous year – and that 2018 is poised to be even better. Total sales, on average, at truck dealerships was $43 million in 2017, an increase of 13.6 percent from 2016, and the positive outlook for 2018 stems from the passage of new tax legislation, business and consumer confidence, and higher profitability.
Steve Parker, in his final remarks as chairman of the ATD, is urging the nation’s commercial truck dealers to work with Congress on repealing the “outdated and harmful” federal excise tax on the sale of heavy-duty trucks and trailers. ATD, which represents more than 1,800 heavy- and medium-duty truck dealerships in the U.S., is supporting new legislation that would eliminate the “archaic” tax. The bill, H.R. 2946, which was introduced by Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), currently has 15 bipartisan co-sponsors.
Jodie Teuton outlined several challenges facing the nation’s medium- and heavy-duty truck dealerships in her first remarks as chairwoman of the ATD, from adapting to changing technology, and legislative and regulatory issues, to cultivating the next generation of dealership employees. Teuton, the first woman elected chair of ATD, is urging dealers to take an interest in legislative issues that impact truck dealerships, including the president’s infrastructure proposal, changes to the tax code and regulatory burdens.
Rick Reynolds, the president of Peach State Truck Centers in Norcross, Ga., was named 2018 Truck Dealer of the Year. The national award recognizes commercial truck dealers for business performance, industry and civic leadership, and community service. The Peach State dealership group includes 11 sales and service, and parts facilities with 600 employees in Georgia and Atlanta. John Arscott, the CEO of The Pete Store in Baltimore, Md., was runner-up for the award.