natda-logo1Some 1,500 people representing trailer dealers, manufacturers and suppliers are expected to attend the 2nd Annual North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA) Trade Show and Convention Sept. 12-14 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, Ky.

“We also expect to have quite a bit of walk-through traffic,” said Amy Rubenstein, NATDA co-founder and vice president.

Rubenstein reported that more than 300 dealers, 46 trailer manufacturers and 115 suppliers have registered for the show. Dealers of any stripe — automobile, RV, boat and the like — are invited to peruse the show for free, although only those who are registered can attend NATDA’s nearly two dozen educational seminars.

Rubenstein and President Andy Ackerman founded the for-profit NATDA in March 2007. The organization represents commercial trailer retailers and earlier this year became an affiliate of the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), largely comprised of cargo trailer builders.

NATDA membership is open to dealers who sell light-and medium-duty trailers with GVWRs of less than 26,000 pounds. About 1.25 million units were sold last year at an average price of about $30,000, Rubenstein said.

With the theme “Back to Basics Bootcamp,” NATDA will present more than 20 educational workshops over three days on subjects that include retail and wholesale financing, federal regulatory compliance, operating profitable parts departments, managing service department operations and selling in a stressed economy.

“Trailer dealers haven’t had any (formal industry) education prior to the association starting,” Rubenstein said. “We want to give them additional knowledge about what is out there, and for a lot of dealers, this is the first time they’re seeing potential products face-to-face.”

As with its RV-industry cousin, the trailer industry has faced financing issues during the past year. One related upshot is the fact that a company that promoting “buy-here, pay-here” retail financing will introduce a program for trailer dealers during the trade show.

“That will give dealers something to think about as the economy recovers,” she said. “I think the program will be very popular. Like everyone else, we want to stimulate the economy and get some sales going in our industry.”