Organizers reported that attendance estimates for the 2019 North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA) Trade Show & Convention, slated for Sept. 5-7 at the America’s Center in St. Louis, are up from last year’s count.

Corey Langley, marketing manager for the organization, told RVBUSINESS.com that 519 dealerships attended the 2018 NATDA trade show while product displays included 82 manufacturer brands. That compares with 492 dealerships and 78 manufacturers in the previous year.

“As of July, we were up 10% compared to 2018,” Langley said, noting that NATDA dealers and manufacturers have reported good business this year despite tariffs imposed by the White House. “We are definitely expecting more people and it seems like it grows every year. We have some new things coming this year and we are all very excited. We have a lot of new additions in the works for dealers coming to the show.”

Langley added that all segments of the trailer industry will be represented in the 340,000-square-foot convention center this year, including the toy hauler, cargo, horse, marine, dump truck and flatbed markets.

In addition, the 2019 show will feature the certified Dexter training class presented by Bill Snider. Langley pointed out that the four-hour, hands-on class will cover commonly used axles and suspensions, including a presentation on theory and practical training with spring axles and electric drum brakes. Snider will also discuss technician safety, component identification, wheel bearing and brake drum service, spring suspension operation and basic alignment trouble shooting.

“This course will positively impact dealership technicians — men and women that play a vital role in the dealership experience. Dexter will provide these technicians with a highly valued education and certification that will translate into their quality of work,” stated Jesse Battle, executive director for NATDA, the North American business association that serves light and medium-duty trailer dealers.

Langley noted the Dexter class is the latest development in NATDA’s attempt to instill more technical training opportunities.

“We are looking to increase it in years to come, branching out and providing a lot more technical training for technicians and service centers and not just to dealer managers and owners,” Langley said.

“The first technical training started in 2017,” he related, “but now we have graduated to certified classes. It is a good example of the things that are to come in 2020. So hopefully dealers see it and we continue to see that rise training going into next year.”

He explained that the trailer industry is not as technologically advanced as the auto or RV industries, so it takes time to, “get these wheels turning.”

“Our big focus has been education, because that is where we have seen a lack of sophistication,” Langley said.

For more information visit www.natda.org.