The Annual Mid America Truck Show starts this week in Kentucky but for the first time since the show started in the 1970s there has been a mass boycott by major US truck brands with none of the key manufacturers displaying at North America’s biggest truck expo.
In a move that could echo down under where the debate continues over the viability of having a major truck show every year , it is clear that even in the massive US market truck manufacturers are feeling the cost of exhibiting every year.
The 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show‘s loss of all Class 8 (Heavy Duty) truck manufacturers as exhibitors is “a blow” but organisers have vowed to weather the storm.
Here in Australia the biennial Brisbane Truck Show seems to have the favour of major OEMS with many opting out of the grandly named International Truck and Trailer Expo in Melbourne scheduled for May and staged in the alternate year to Brisbane. A waste truck section which organisers have bolted on to the ITTES in Melbourne appears to have saved the events bacon for the time being, but it is clear the industry is keen on just one event every two years down under and Brisbane has more OEM support.
Stateside, PACCAR was the last OEM to declare that it would skip this year’s MATS. The announced change from many years of annual participation began immediately after the 2015 show when Daimler said it would begin alternating between the IAA Commercial Truck Show in Hannover and MATS in Louisville. Volvo, Navistar and Mack followed suit with Kenworth and Peterbilt announcing in October last year that they had joined the 2016 desertion.
“It’s very unfortunate, both for the show and the industry,” said show organiser Toby Young.
“It’s so important not just for the show and the industry, but for the OEs,” he continued. “They can’t connect with their customers and their suppliers, there won’t be any new models on display, and we’re not going to be able to get together as an entire industry.”
“There’ll be a few suppliers that will pull out because of the OEs not being there, but they’re not being as public as the OEs have been in announcing it,” Young said.
With no leading heavy duty makers MATS has certainly lost its lustre this year and time will tell if it can retain an annual place on the calendar.
The Mid-America Trucking Show will kick-off on 31st March and run through 2nd April in Louisville, Kentucky and organisers are still expecting to draw more than 70,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors. In Europe the IAA Truck Show in Hannover is set for the third week of September.