Minnesota is a national leader in light-truck sales, so the Twin Cities Auto Show planners decided to plan something special for both consumers and dealers.
The National Truck Summit will be March 6, the day before the weeklong auto show starts at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The summit, co-sponsored by Automotive News, will feature the who’s who of the truck world including keynote speaker Ryan Nagode, chief designer of Ram trucks. One program will address Ford’s dominance in the market, featuring Tim Stoehr, Ford’s North American product line manager for trucks. Other speakers will include top industry experts from Toyota and research and analytics firm Jato Dynamics.
Topics will include consumer-design trends, the future of Tesla branded trucks, the potential for Amazon to start selling vehicles and updates about the progress of driverless cars.
There were a record 12.2 million light-truck sales in the United States last year, show officials said.
So the need for a truck summit “is long overdue,” said Matt Weiss, an executive with Jato who will speak at the summit.
Weiss said light trucks and SUVs are viewed as luxury vehicles because of their amenities.
“The truck market doesn’t have one particular niche,” he said. “These evolving vehicles are being sold to people from all walks of life. To have an opportunity to showcase all of the things trucks and SUVs are capable of now and in the future is important to further raise awareness of this key part of our economy.”
Of the vehicles registered in Minnesota, 84% are light trucks or SUVs, according to research firm IHS Markit. That’s 180,223 vehicles.
As far as light trucks and SUVs sold, they make up more than 82% of vehicles sold in Minnesota, according to the auto show. Nationally, the category makes up 69% of sales.
“Crossovers, SUVs and light trucks clearly dominate U.S. vehicle sales, to the point where companies like Ford are phasing out sedans,” said Scott Lambert, president of the Greater Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association, which produces the Twin Cities Auto Show.