The North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA), which meets for its third annual trade show over the weekend in Louisville, Ky., intends to establish a credit union financed by its over 400 dealers and 200 manufacturer and supplier members.
”As soon as the show is over, I intend to spend 100% of my time working on setting up a retail financing program,” said Andy Ackerman, president of the three-year-old for-profit association headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla.
About 600 people representing 240 registered dealerships will attend the show at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) which kicks off with a VIP reception Friday evening (Sept. 10) and runs through Sunday. Forty-nine manufacturers of commercial, utility, equestrian and cargo trailers plan to display about 300 trailers during the show. NATDA has sold out 188,000 square feet of space booked in two halls of the massive KEC’s South Wing.
”The biggest problem our dealers have is floorplan and retail financing,” Ackerman said. ”Banks don’t understand our industry. The only way we can control our own destiny is to be self-sufficient with regard to financing. I think we can sustain our own lending for our industry.”
Ackerman said he hopes to have the credit union established sometime in 2011.
The show will have a strong education component with regard to sales management, business management and parts and service management. Four classes will be conducted for each of the three categories. Audio recordings of the classes will be available to NATDA members at www.natda.org.
A $245-per-year membership also includes and associate membership in the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) and the technical, regulatory and safety information NATM provides.
”We are trying to teach our dealers how to run better businesses,” Ackerman said. ”Our big push is educating dealers about being in compliance with safety regulations.”
Ackerman said the retail sales in the trailer industry have ”been steadily picking up” throughout the year.
”The horse trailer side is a little slow as are the big units with living space,” he said. ”But 60% of our industry is commercial so we weren’t affected by the downturn as much as the recreational side of the business.”