Work Truck Week 2023: This Big March Event had Nothing to do with Basketball
By Steve Henning
If you follow college basketball, you know there’s a big event in March that teams and fans look forward to each year. But if you follow the commercial vehicle business – which, of course you do since you’re reading this – you know this industry has a big March event too. It’s called Work Truck Week and it’s something those of us in this business look forward to every year.
This year, the event was back in full force, with numbers exceeding last year when it was just getting back to face-to-face following a virtual event in 2021. In fact, almost 15,000 commercial vehicle professionals were on-hand in Indianapolis the week of March 6th. With the Green Truck Summit and The Work Truck Show®, plus Ride & Drive, there was plenty to see and do for all attendees.
If you were in attendance, you know there was a great deal of attention on EVs, with the launch of eight commercial EVs at Work Truck Week, plus auxiliary power solutions, equipment and bodies. Additionally, almost twenty companies offered the opportunity to experience their technical advancements first-hand through ride and drives, enabling participants to drive both electric, as well as internal combustion engine vehicles. Hopefully you also had a chance to see the school bus version of the Ford E-Transit, which debuted at the show. This introduction makes Ford the first full-line automaker to offer a Type-A school bus package on an electric powertrain.
The major role EVs played in the event this year is likely a trend we’ll continue to see, which is understandable based on all the attention from various sectors, such as the government, the general public and the media. The EV presence was reinforced by many upfitters showcasing upfit packages for EVs, indicating they understand the role EVs play.
However, while there was plenty of talk about EVs and other types of alternative fuels, this wasn’t the only topic on the minds of attendees. Presentations, meetings and booth discussions covered a wide range, from inventory levels, to upfit solutions, to future industry projections. With so many unknowns related to the economy, there was still tempered optimism about the year ahead. For example, vehicle inventory levels are SLOWLY coming back, although they still aren’t close to historical levels. Given the level of uncertainty, savvy operators spent time at the show looking for companies that can help them improve operational efficiencies and capitalize on best practices; this mindset is why they are top performers, regardless of whether or not they are dealers, upfitters or others in the commercial vehicle space.
If you didn’t attend Work Truck Week, you really missed out – on new connections, on seeing the latest innovations and discussions about ways to improve your business, as well as missing out on some fun events put on by different businesses serving our industry. So be sure to put WTW 2024 on your calendar now so you don’t miss out next year! See you in Indianapolis March 5-8, 2024.