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May 13, 2015 2:45 PM, EDT

Exclusive: Daimler Trucks Pulls Out of Mid-America Trucking Show in 2016

SuperTruck at 2015 MATS by John Sommers II for Transport Topics
The president of Daimler Trucks North America said the company will not attend the 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show and will instead focus attention next year on the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Germany.

In an exclusive interview with Transport Topics, Martin Daum explained the decision and outlined changes he hopes organizers will consider so that DTNA can “support MATS to become a significant show in the world.”

“We want to come to Mid-America in a two-year sequence. I really like the IAA format over in Europe – having it every two years,” Daum said.

“That makes sense for our industry because we don’t have the short-lived cycles like the passenger-car industry. We have longer investment cycles,” he said. “It is not that easy to every year make a big splash.”

Toby Young, president of Exhibit Management Associates, which owns and operates the show in Louisville, Kentucky, confirmed to TT that Daimler has informed him of its decision. He declined additional comment other than saying: “The Mid-America Trucking Show will most definitely take place in 2016.”

Looking ahead, Daum said he hopes MATS will be extended by one additional weekday, making it more of a place for original equipment manufacturers and suppliers to meet and share ideas.

He described MATS as “an industry show, where you bring your novelties, where you push the envelope, where you show something like we did this year with the SuperTruck, where you introduce new models.”

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SuperTruck, named for the U.S. Department of Energy program, was the company’s showpiece at MATS in March. Tests showed the Freightliner concept truck achieved 115% freight-efficiency gains and an average 12.2 miles per gallon.

MATS has been held each year since 1972. The 2015 edition – running from March 26-28 with a media day on March 25 – had more than 1,000 exhibitors and set an attendance record of 81,768.

It is billed as the largest annual heavy-duty trucking industry event in the world. The 2016 show is scheduled for March 31-April 2.

The IAA Commercial Vehicles show takes place during the fall of even-numbered years in Hanover, Germany. Last year’s show saw more than 250,000 visitors and 2,000 exhibitors.

Daum said the company plans to attend MATS in 2017, but added, “whoever provides the best platform, we will go with it.”

“In this case, we are the customer, and I know how picky customers can be – I experience that every day,” Daum said. “On the other side, the Mid-America location and time fits. There is no reason to go away."

DTNA’s share of the U.S. Class 8 market, including Freightliner and Western Star, was 40.49% in the first quarter, according to retail sales figures from Wards Auto. In 2014, its share was 37.26%.

See the May 18 print edition of Transport Topics for additional information.