It was the 40th anniversary of the Mid-America Trucking Show, but the celebratory mood among both those attending and those exhibiting had more to do with a reviving economy than the show's milestone. Although no one was declaring boom times, clearly recession levels of freight, fleet revenues and truck sales are behind the industry as it moves towards a solid recovery.
For three days in late March, Louisville was a public celebration of all things trucking with some 76,000 visitors taking in over 1,000 exhibits. And befitting that role, MATS once again served as a showcase for major news from truck makers, component manufacturers, trailer builders and other suppliers of products and services.
The following 15 pages offer full coverage of the 26 press conferences held before and during this year's MATS, as well as news of major announcements by many others exhibiting at the show. After the major development push to meet last year's diesel emissions requirements, much of the truck and engine news centered around filling in model lineups with more specialized vehicles and upgrades aimed at boosting productivity.
Anticipating the upswing in trucking activity forecast for the next few years, other suppliers picked up on the productivity theme, introducing products and services intended to help fleets do more with less.
And all — suppliers and fleets alike — acknowledged the need to respond to major regulatory changes centering around safety, vehicle fuel economy and driver work rules with new approaches to the business of trucking.
So for those who couldn't make it to Louisville for the 40th MATS celebration and those who want to make sure they didn't miss anything important in the crush of attendees, here's Fleet Owner's annual Mid-America Trucking Show report.