The North American truck show market is in disarray: After a range of leading truck manufacturers stayed away from the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in March, both Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Navistar have now announced they will support a new industry gathering to be staged in Atlanta next autumn.
The two OEMs publically committed to a biannual show concept brought forward by Newcom Media, a Canadian publishing house that is also responsible for Canada’s Truck World expo, and Hannover Fairs, a subsidiary of Deutsche Messe, which owns the fairgrounds for the biannual IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Germany and operates the event, even though it doesn’t own it. Deutsche Messe is also behind the China Commercial Vehicle event in Wuhan and a series of material handling and logistics exhibitions held under the CeMat name.
Titled North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show, the new event is likely to be held in odd-numbered years only, alternating with the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Germany, with the first proposed date being 18-22 September 2017. “All four North American truck-making corporations and independent engine maker Cummins backed out of MATS this year, saying that an every-other-year format makes more sense. They want to display in Europe at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, Germany, in even-numbered years, and at a major North American show in odd-numbered years,” local North American industry resource, Transport Topics, summarised the situation in a May expose.
Whether or not the new NACV concept will be the right vehicle to do so is yet to be determined, though – at least if the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) are concerned. They had entertained the idea of a new national show in March 2017, hoping to co-operate with event management and trade show firm, Messe Frankfurt – the company behind the global Automechanika brand and the Johannesburg International Truck & Bus Show.
According to Transport Topics, however, Navistar’s and Daimler’s early commitment to the NACV concept may have put the plan on hold for now: “At this point, it is unlikely that our exploration of the possibility of a new truck show will be successful, but we will continue to look for ways to advance ATA’s position as the leading voice promoting trucking in the US,” ATA President, Bill Graves, told the news outlet.
A third alternative option emerged in late June, when a consortium around Germany’s Messe München announced it was also hoping to stage a national show in Atlanta, albeit not before 2018. The so-called Transportation & Logistics Americas (TLA) exhibition will likely be collocated with the already established Modex supply chain exposition, which is considered the largest manufacturing and supply chain expo in North and South America. The double showcase is slated to take place from 9-12 April 2018 at Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Centre, half a year after the planned NACV premiere.
Next to Messe München, which is responsible for the global Transport Logistic trade show series, TLA will reportedly be co-organised by ITE, the company behind the Breakbulk show brand, and supported by MHI, an international trade association and organiser of Modex. “The logistics industry by nature is international in its scope and operation, as such logistics exhibitions also need to focus on the international element of the industry,” the organisers said in a media release. “The American and European industries have, for a long time, been working independently of each other, resulting in very few similarities in their business practices. But this is changing thanks in a large part to the mergers and acquisitions within the industry.”
MHI CEO, George W Prest, went on to comment, “The decision to collocate Modex 2018 and TLA was made for several reasons. [It] will allow manufacturing and supply chain professionals the opportunity to take advantage of unparalleled education and networking opportunities as well as exposure to the largest equipment and technology display of any show of its kind in the Americas. In today’s world where agile and innovative supply chains are a requirement, the collocation represents a win-win for exhibitors and attendees.”
There has been no commitment to either show concept from the trailer industry just yet. However, both DTNA and Navistar pointed out that attendance at what they have labelled “regional shows” such as MATS is still an option at a dealer level.
According to Trucking Info, the team behind MATS reacted composedly, saying, “While we had hoped that DTNA Corporate and Navistar would be present at the 2017 MATS, we understand that they are focusing their marketing efforts on the medium to large-sized fleets and are placing their bets with the new show.
“As we have for the last 45 years, MATS will continue to be a national show that addresses the needs of the North American trucking industry as a whole, including small/medium-sized fleets, owner-operators and drivers, as well as suppliers and manufacturers seeking to engage with this broader audience.”