As MATS opens, ATA announces plans for major truck trade show

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Updated Apr 1, 2016

Just as the Mid-America Trucking Show opens to the public in Louisville today without the presence of  major truck manufacturers as in years past, the American Trucking Associations announced plans to help stage what it calls “a major North American truck and transportation event.”

Kenworth exhibit at 2015 MATS

ATA said in a statement today that it is partnering with the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association division of the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association and trade show producer Messe Frankfurt Inc. to develop a show similar to one held every other year in Germany. Plans are for the show to be held in early fall, biennially in odd-numbered years opposite the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany.

One after another, major North American truck manufacturers last year announced they were opting out of the 2016 MATS. Some even went as far as to suggest MATS change its format to be held every other year.

Daimler Trucks NA announced it was sitting out MATS last May. They were followed shortly thereafter by Volvo and Navistar. Then, in the fall, Mack said it would take a pass and Kenworth followed suit in October. In January of this year, Cummins announced it would sit out this year’s show.

Here’s what organizers of the proposed new show today said:

MEMA President and CEO Steve Handschuh: “In recent years, it has become increasingly clear there is demand from consumers and manufacturers for a North American trucking industry exhibition with the prominence and importance befitting this essential industry. Today we are pleased to take the first step toward making that show a reality.”

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves: “While ATA already provides fleet executives with a number of opportunities to see the latest in truck, trailer and other technology, we believe there is an appetite for a larger-scale event. We look forward to working with HDMA/MEMA, and Messe Frankfurt to explore the possibilities of a new exhibition – one that promises to bring all the major players in our industry together under one roof.”

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Messe Frankfurt President Dennis Smith: “The concerns of the industry in Europe and North America – safety, fuel economy, emissions and efficiency – are universal. We look forward to the potential benefit a biennial show of this kind can provide both the trucking industry and the suppliers and manufacturers that support them.”

HDMA COO Tim Kraus: “Today’s announcement is only the first step of our journey. We intend to fully explore what creating a show of this kind will mean for the transportation industry, as well as for commercial vehicle OEMs, systems and component suppliers and other supply chain elements, the investment community, and trade, financial and general media. It is our hope that we will soon be able to announce what the next step in that journey will be and eventually, the announcement of a date for our inaugural event.”

Based in North Carolina, HDMA is the Commercial Vehicle Division of the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), a trade association for the motor vehicle supplier industry.

Messe Frankfurt is a major, international trade fair organizer, which staged 132 trade shows around the globe in 2015. The company’s North American headquarters in Atlanta produces 10 trade shows in the USA, Canada and Mexico.