Eric Jorgensen, chairman of the American Truck Dealers (ATD), urged dealers to become engaged in all levels of their industry’s wide-spread operations to move their businesses forward.
“We’re part of an industry that not only puts people behind a big wheel, but also propels the nation forward,” he said today at the ATD Convention & Expo in San Francisco. “And our industry keeps the nation moving.”
Jorgensen, president and CEO of JX Enterprises in Hartland, Wis., outlined four areas of a newly developed strategic plan to help guide the industry through 2015 and beyond – and he cited progress in each of the areas.
“Last year, I told you that the success of our business – and of our customers – depends on what happens in Washington, DC,” he said of the plan’s goal to engage legislators and regulators.
ATD worked to engage dealers in grass-roots efforts that brought them to Congress to be sure their representatives knew how regulations made in Washington, DC, affect their dealerships.
“With all the rulemaking coming out of Washington, DC, our message is simple: the rules affecting our business should be technologically feasible and economically practical,” Jorgensen said. “Eventually every policy decision, regulation or vote – whether related to taxes, highway funding, the environment or road safety – all leads back to Main Street where our businesses are.”
Concerning highway funding, Jorgensen said since Washington seems unable to find a bipartisan way to fund the nation’s roads and highways, ATD has stepped up.
“We’ve generated additional support for legislation that opposes an increase in the 12 percent heavy-duty truck excise tax, he said. “And any increase in the excise tax would discourage the sale of the cleanest and most fuel-efficient trucks out there.”
ATD has also successfully advocated for legislation that would retroactively increase the eligibility of expensing dealership business equipment to $500,000 and extending the 50 percent bonus depreciation deduction for new business equipment in 2014, he said.
“And we’ve included our partners in our efforts. ATD hosted policy roundtables with our OEMs and other industry representatives to share our concerns,” Jorgensen said.
He encouraged ATD members to fulfill another of the plan’s goals: to inform people about the truck industry. America’s medium- and heavy-duty truck dealers provide equipment that moves more than 70 percent of all the freight tonnage annually in the United States, he said. The industry employs more than 8.7 million people nationwide.
Jorgensen encouraged local dealers to engage their communities in ways that would help citizens understand the trucking business.
“We’re all in this business together,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to move trucking forward.”
The four-day ATD convention runs Jan. 22-25 at the Moscone Center. For more information, visit www.atdconvention.org.
For complete convention press coverage, visit www.nadafrontpage.com/NADA2015.xml.