ATLANTA, Ga. – This September, Atlanta will host the first-ever North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show, a joint initiative between Newcom U.S.A. and Deutsche Messe.
Nearly 400 suppliers will be exhibiting at the show, which will be focused on the needs of fleet executives and decision-makers. It will be unlike any existing North American trucking trade show, with a clear focus on technology, and facilitating business between truck fleets and their suppliers. The show will take place in odd-numbered years, alternating with the global IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover, Germany. We caught up with Joe Glionna, president of Newcom (publisher of Truck News and Trucknews.com), to discuss the new show and what exhibitors and visitors can expect to see.
TN: Why was a new show for the trucking industry needed, and how did it get started?
Glionna: The basic reason for a new show is that, when you looked at the existing shows in the U.S., there was a hole in the form of a large-scale event that brought in significant numbers of fleet executives. You had shows specific to the aftermarket, you had shows specific to various niches, and more broad-based trucking industry events with a lot of drivers, owner-operators and families – a lot of truck enthusiasts.
What was missing was a bare bones trade show for fleet executives. We partnered with Deutsche Messe/Hannover Fairs USA, who help manage the IAA show in Hannover, Germany, and are bringing that model over here to North America.
TN: It sounds like they were a natural partner for this initiative?
Glionna: Yes, when the opportunity came up in the U.S., it was clear to me that being a Canadian show operator – as well respected as we are in Canada – wouldn’t be enough to win a contract in the U.S. So, bringing Hannover in as our partner for Atlanta didn’t seal the deal on its own, but was definitely the right step and a good choice, because together we are a formidable duo.
TN: What will visitors to the NACV show notice the most? How will it be different from shows that visitors may have attended in the past?
Glionna: They’ll notice a couple of things. One, the style of the booths and basically the investment being spent on these booths, specifically by the truck manufacturers. It’s just incredible. We’ve had to rent the show floor for an extra day and a half just so the Navistars, Daimlers, Volvos, and Macks can have enough time to set up their rigs. They’re spending millions of dollars on these booths. It’s the kind of display that, the industry hasn’t seen anything like it.
The other big difference is, the reinvigorated attitude towards trade shows. The truck manufacturers had lost some interest in these shows, but with this renewed attitude and big investment, they’re spending a lot of effort on inviting their customers and working with the show organizers on the attendance marketing campaign to really let the industry know that trade shows aren’t new, but this is a new concept.
So, simply walking around the show floor, I expect to see a lot of buyers, a lot of presidents and vice-presidents and fleet maintenance managers. What you won’t see are families, strollers, drivers. We certainly respect truck drivers and the family aspect of the trucking industry, but our position is, there are great shows for truck enthusiasts and for drivers and owner-operators. We really want to separate that part of the industry from the executive business side.
TN: How involved have the OEMs been in shaping this show?
Glionna: We sometimes joke that it’s their show. From day one, we’ve had an advisory committee made up of the truck manufacturers who are in the show. They’ve been heavily involved with the shaping of the show schedule, the style of the show, right down to the days they wanted to have the show.
TN: Truck shows in North America have always been a great place to see new equipment, but there haven’t always been a lot of deals closed on the show floor. Are you looking to change that with this new concept and if so, how do you create a culture where sales are closed at the show itself?
Glionna: It’s a good question. The short answer is, we won’t change it in one show. This is going to be a long process. The truck manufacturers have agreed to a three-show commitment with the understanding that you’re not going to reinvent the wheel in one show. We typically don’t view shows in North America as buying shows the way they are in Europe. It’s not just a trucking industry mentality change – it’s really the North American business mentality in respect to many shows.
We will have business offices overlooking the booths so the truck manufacturers have offices off the show floor where they can have meetings, give presentations, and show their customers a bird’s eye view of their booths. There are hundreds of meeting rooms available for exhibitors to use for off-floor meetings. Even a 10×10 exhibitor will have the opportunity to have meetings in the Georgia World Congress Center.
The truck OEMs have even discussed changing their sales cycles and processes to make the show a part of that sale. They may have their customers fly into the show, and have specific time slots for the OEM executives to meet with the fleet executives, show them their equipment, then take them up to the private office and get a deal done.
TN: We have talked a lot about the OEMs’ roles in the new show, but there are a lot of smaller exhibitors as well. What do they bring to the event?
Glionna: You can’t have a truck show without the trucks, but you’re absolutely right, we have 367 exhibitors. Every Tier 1 manufacturer is going to be there. The majority of the trailer manufacturers are going to be there, and the service suppliers as well. We have some insurance companies, your parts suppliers. So, it’s going to be a show that has all the equipment.
TN: Why should fleet decision-makers attend the first ever NACV show?
Glionna: It’s simple: if you want to have an opportunity to see the latest equipment in one location, in a truncated time frame, NACV is absolutely the show for you to attend. We’re sensitive to people’s time and the reality is, a lot of executives simply don’t feel they have the time to go to trade shows. Well, when the trade show floor is less full, but full of the right people, you have more time to talk to supplier representatives. You have more time to walk around and focus on the types of equipment you’re looking to spec’ or the types of trucks you’re looking to buy.
And it’s also one of the reasons we picked Atlanta. You can fly to Atlanta from any city, just about, in North America. We have 36 hotels currently booked. So, in a sense, we’ve done our best to eliminate the travel excuse.
TN: How can fleet decision-makers ensure they get the most out of the show?
Glionna: I would say, talk to your suppliers who are going to be at the show, because there are lot of exciting events going on, that the suppliers are putting on. We have partnered with the exhibitors and relied on them to take control of their events and their customer appreciation evenings. So, I would say to any interested attendee, talk to your suppliers, ask what they’re doing, and get a free invitation code from them.
The NACV show runs Sept. 25-28 in Atlanta, Ga. General admission for fleet decision makers is on Sept. 26-28, with invite-only guests attending on Sept. 25. Press conferences begin on Sept. 24. For full details and a list of exhibitors, visit www.NACVshow.com.