Volvo Becomes Second OEM to Pull Out of MATS Next Year

This story appears in the July 6 print edition of Transport Topics.

Volvo Trucks has become the second truck manufacturer to decide against exhibiting at the Mid-America Trucking Show next year.

“We evaluate all of our sales and marketing activities when we develop our business plan,” company spokesman Avery Vise told Transport Topics. “As part of that effort, we have decided not to participate in 2016.”

Vise said the Greensboro, North Carolina-based truck and engine maker believes a show like Mid-America “would benefit from a biennial schedule” similar to the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover, Germany.

He added Volvo Trucks plans to return to MATS in 2017.

The comments echo those made in May by Daimler Trucks North America President Martin Daum, explaining to TT why the company had decided not to attend next year’s MATS.

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The show, a massive exhibition of equipment and regulatory information, is scheduled for March 31 to April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Mack Trucks, also part of the Volvo Group in North America, has not made any decisions regarding Mid-America, according to John Walsh, Mack’s vice president of marketing.

“We evaluate each trade show opportunity every year to ensure that we’re not only getting the best return on investment for Mack, but that we’re doing the right things for our customers, and we continue to move through that process for 2016,” Walsh said in an e-mailed statement.

Truck makers Navistar International and Paccar Inc.’s Kenworth Truck and Peterbilt Motors, all of which traditionally have had a significant presence in the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center, did not respond by TT’s deadline.

Toby Young, president of Exhibit Management Associates, which owns and operates the show, said he was not surprised by Volvo’s decision.

“We figured after hearing from DTNA that any truck OEM that followed their lead would be one with a significant presence at IAA,” he said.

Young said he had spoken with the other truck makers about next year’s show, noting that the window to claim exhibit space is from July 15 to Sept. 15.

He also said less than 10% of exhibiting companies at MATS take part in IAA, which has led him to believe MATS can continue in an annual format.

“We hope other OEMs and suppliers see MATS 2016 as a chance to improve their location and increase their presence to take advantage of the absence” of DTNA and Volvo, Young said.

MATS has been held each year since 1972. This year, it convened March 26-28 and had record-breaking attendance of 81,768 and more than 1,000 exhibitors.

The IAA Commercial Vehicles show takes place during the fall of even-numbered years. Last year’s show, from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2, saw more than 250,000 visitors and 2,000 exhibitors.

Volvo’s European commercial vehicles division, which includes Renault Trucks, had a sizable booth inside the Hanover Fairground. Claes Nilsson, president of the European division of Volvo Trucks, kicked off the company’s press event by premiering a new television advertisement to promote its I-Shift dual-clutch gearbox.

The press conference also included Volvo Buses debuting its model 7900 Electric Hybrid.

At IAA in 2012, Volvo made a large splash on the truck side, using the show as the launching point for its updated FH series for the European market.