The North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA) announced that dealer registration to attend the 2013 Trade Show & Convention is officially open to all industry-related dealers. According to a press release, all dealers who choose to join NATDA or renew their membership prior to March 1 will be offered the opportunity to obtain free hotel accommodations to attend the Trade Show & Convention in St. Louis.
The 6th annual NATDA Trade Show & Convention will take place Sept. 5-7 at the America’s Center in Downtown St. Louis. The trade show is the first and only industry event that caters specifically to the trailer dealer industry and is not open to the public. All segments of the industry are represented, including towable RVs and toy haulers. In addition to the array of trailers, a variety of accessory vendors will be exhibiting, including product and service vendors, financial institutions and insurance companies. In recent years, NATDA has experienced significant growth from markets related to the trailer industry, such as truck accessories and RVs.
The success of the 2012 Trade Show & Convention brought a surge of support for the 2013 trade show, enabling NATDA to provide education seminars free of charge to attending dealers. In addition, a host of dealer incentive programs are currently in the works. Active-member dealers that register for the trade show by March 1 will be given the opportunity to receive one free hotel room for two nights at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel, which is located directly across the street from the Trade Show.
Click here to access NATDA’s registration page for the trade show.
The North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA) held its annual trade show and convention to Dallas Sept. 8-10 at the Dallas Convention Center, drawing attendees from 48 states and six Canadian provinces that represented trailer dealers, manufacturers and industry vendors.
“This year’s show was a huge success on the buying front,” said NATDA President Andy Ackerman in a press release.
“While attendance was slightly higher than in 2010, business was way up, particularly for companies such as GE Capital, which wrote more than $4 million in sales throughout the three days in Dallas,” said Ackerman. “Dealers on hand this year had more education opportunities than in the past while also getting opportunities to network with each other at our round-table sessions and welcome party.”
“Although we were new to the NATDA show, we were more than pleased with the exposure and the quality of the dealers that attended. The NATDA show is now a permanent addition to our trade show budget,” said Karl Sjoberg, with Road Dog Trailers.
GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) will offer a show special for all orders booked at the 2011 North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA) Trade Show set to run Sept. 8-10 at the Dallas Convention Center.
The company emphasized that the offer will be valid only during the three show days for dealers in attendance. The program is limited to manufacturers and dealers active with the
CDF Strategic Industries Trailer Group only. It will extend suppliers’ standard financing terms by 60 days; this includes dealers in the light- and medium-duty enclosed cargo, open utility, dump, auto hauler and horse-livestock trailers. This program is only available at the 2011 NATDA Trade Show.
GE will have staff on site for dealers wanting to take advantage of the show special. For credit lines up to $300,000 GE has implemented a streamlined approval process. Trailer dealers will be able to apply with GE at the show, and if approved will be eligible for the plus-60 program.
GE will also host a free workshop and seminar on its new floor plan program on Sept. 8, at the trade show. The class will teach dealers about floorplan finance, inventory turns, what to expect from their lender, when to turn aged inventory back to cash and online management tools for inventory control. GE will make sure dealers understand the new GE programs and how to make them work for their dealership.
EZ Connector Inc. (www.ezconnector.com), developer and manufacturer of high-performance products for improving the safety and reliability of electrical trailer and towing connections, has been awarded first place for “Best New Product of the Year” by the North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA).
EZ Connector’s EZ Recreational 7-Pin (EZR7) electrical towing connection system was recognized recently during the annual NATDA convention held in Louisville, Ky., according to a release from the company.
The EZR7 electrical connection system ensures that electrical components such as lights and brakes work every time a trailer or other equipment is towed. Available in several models including traditional and fifth-wheel versions, the EZR7 is designed as a universal configuration that can adapt to a variety of applications.
EZ Connector’s EZR7 was selected from more than 30 new products entered into this year’s competition. The products were voted on by a panel of judges from the trailer dealer industry.
“Our esteemed group of judges — all who know the ins and outs of trailers and towing products — found EZ Connector’s EZR7 to be a stand-out product based on its innovative and high-quality design, as well as its ease of use and safety features,” said Andy Ackerman, president of NATDA. “We believe that EZ Connector’s products are complementary to the high-quality trailers that our members are selling to consumers and businesses across the continent.”
“We are honored that the NATDA recognized us with its ‘Best New Product of the Year’ award, and believe that this award is a testament to the due diligence that our team has spent researching, designing and manufacturing innovative products for the light- and medium-duty trailer industry,” said Joe Cardoza, president of EZ Connector. “EZ Connector’s products give trailer owners and operators the added assurance they need that their important cargo is always safe. This safety assurance, coupled with user-friendly features and a water-proof, corrosion-proof design, are what make our products ideal for a variety of commercial and recreational applications.”
The EZR7 system is available for less than $100. For more information, purchase locations and selling opportunities, visit the company’s website at www.ezconnector.com or call the company at 559-686-5889.
NATDA is the only professional business association in North America serving the light-and medium-duty trailer dealers and bringomg them together as a unified team. By uniting the trailer dealers within a professional business association, NATDA is able to provide dealers with only the very best benefits, programs and education available.
The nation’s economy and its effect on the cargo and specialty trailer industry were the focus of the 21st Annual National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) Convention and Trade Show Feb. 24-28 at the North Charleston Convention Center in Charleston, S.C.
About 1,000 people representing commercial trailer suppliers and manufacturers attended the gathering during which well-known economist and author Ben Stein was the keynote speaker.
Although suggesting that the U.S. economy will eventually turn around, Stein said the country’s current economic malaise could have been avoided. “We are in a genuine credit crisis caused by incredible incompetence by the banks and lending institutions and greed by hedge funds managers,” Stein said. “This didn’t have to happen had there been proper regulatory supervision.”
While attendance was down some from 2007, out-going NATM President Travis Eby of M.H. Eby Inc., Blue Ball, Pa., said the association was pleased with the number of people who attended. “We are happy with the turnout,” said Eby, who during the convention turned the association’s reins over to Michael Terry of Cimarron Trailer, Chicasha, Okla.
Other new officers are Vice President Mike Skoglund, Carry-On Trailer Inc., Lavonia, Ga., and Treasurer Christopher Baker, Trail-et Inc., Waupaca, Wisc.
“We had about the same amount of trailer manufacturers here that we had last year, but some of them brought less people,” Eby said. “Instead of bringing seven people, they might have brought three. But a lot of the vendors that I talked to were very happy with the quality of people who were coming through.”
Among those vendors attending was Andy Ackerman, president and co-founder of the North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA), a 2-year-old privately owned trade group that represents commercial trailer retailers and, effective Jan. 1, became an NATM affiliate.
“The trailer industry is not suffering (from the economy) nearly as badly as those in the recreational industry,” Ackerman told RVBusiness. “Fifty percent of our industry is commercial, so we still have that in-flow. And we are starting to see some recovery as President Obama focuses on infrastructure. The commercial side of our industry will come back very quickly.”
With regard to the affiliation agreement – a one-year-pact through which for-profit NATDA and not-for-profit NATM are testing the cooperative waters – NATDA’s approximately 1,300 members will receive NATM’s TRACKS magazine and have access to the organization’s technical director to answer questions that dealers might have. At the same time, NATM’s 1,002 members will receive the bi-monthly NATDA Magazine.
According to Eby, the affiliation is designed to make sure that trailer safety education reaches retail customers. “We were leaving it up to the individual manufacturers to get the point-of-purchase material to their dealer network,” he said. “It was kind of cumbersome.”
Now, safety material will be available directly to dealers through NATM. “We are trying to make sure that everybody’s best interests are looked after, and we thought that an affiliation between the two groups was the way to go,” Eby said. “We want to make sure that the trailer safety message goes from the manufacturer to the dealer to the consumer.”
Ackerman said that the affiliation will augment the services that NATDA provides to its members. “NATM does a fantastic job of providing safety and regulatory information for the manufacturers,” Ackerman said. “What we do is focus on helping dealers become more professional.
“NATM will be speaking at our trade show to educate our members about the NATM compliance sticker. It’s very important that dealers and the retail public understand that buying a trailer that doesn’t have the NATM sticker may mean that trailer is not safe or not legal to be on the road.”
After Thursday morning’s session Stein volunteered to join three other individuals in a panel discussion on a topic that is utmost in most business peoples’s minds these days: “Pulling Through the Economic Storm: Q&A about Trailer Financing.”
Participating with Stein in this thought-provoking session were Curt Myers, president and CEO of Fulton Financial Corp., Lancaster, Pa.; Matt Martin, senior vice president and Charlotte (N.C.) regional executive for the Federal Reserve Bank, and Stuart May, national sales manager of Trail Boss Conversions Inc., Bates City, Mo., and a 20-year veteran of the financial services arena.
While conceding that the economic atmosphere had changed dramatically for the worse more swiftly than even the finance community had anticipated, May said lenders have left the commercial trailer marketplace in much the same way that they have exited other fields, including recreational vehicles.
Yet, he added, there are lenders out there – and he declined to publicly mention names – that are considering expanding into viable markets like the commercial trailer sector. “And we need to encourage these lenders,” he said.
Echoing reports from the RV field, May said the consumer finance situation seems to have eased up some, but that wholesale finance is still a problem.
Stein, for his part, reiterated his chief message from his presentation earlier in the morning that the market would return to health in due time. But he also urged NATM’s membership to pull together statistics and demographics about their business – including the numbers of people it employs in various regions of the country – to present to lawmakers on Capitol Hill and agencies like the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help get credit flowing to the commercial trailer arena. “You may as well get your share by contacting people in Washington and getting the message out,” he said.
The same message applies for the finance world, which probably doesn’t realize that the commercial trailer business accounted for at least 600,000 units last year, stressed May. “Lenders don’t know the trailer business, so we need to educate them,’” he maintained.
Banker Myers said this is an excellent time for acquisitions and startups, assuming one has the fortitude and resources to pursue them. Likewise, he added, things probably aren’t going to improve until people decide they’re going to improve. “When things seem so bleak is probably when things are actually starting to turn around,” he said.
Meanwhile, Carl Maxey, general manager of Maxey Manufacturing, Fort Collins, Colo., received the Bill Bernhart Outstanding Member Award. Ron Yarnell of PPG, Braselton, Ga., was handed the Outstanding Associate Member Award. Greg Snyder of Car Mate Trailers, Leeper, Pa., got the Ed Freel Membership Award; and Michelle Brown, NATM assistant director, the Above and Beyond Award.