ATD writes Obama to stimulate new truck sales

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The American Truck Dealers division of NADA last week sent a letter to President Obama signed by a coalition of heavy- and medium-duty truckmakers and industry associations urging the creation of a federal stimulus program to boost new truck sales and put cleaner more fuel-efficient trucks on the road.

In the letter, ATD outlines why stimulus is needed now, as U.S. truck retailing slowly recovers from historically low sales in 2009, while new 2010 emissions standards have added as much as $13,000 to the cost of a new truck. Together with the economic downturn, expensive 2010 emissions standards are forcing trucking companies and owner-operators to hang on to their older trucks for longer, ATD argues, causing safety concerns and undermining the administration’s efforts to curb emissions and improve air quality.

“Simply put, until the economy begins to demonstrate signs of continued growth and stability, trucking companies will not commit to purchase any of these more expensive trucks,” the letter states.

With the help of NADA’s Legislative Affairs group and input from truck manufacturers, ATD leaders – including Chairman Kyle Treadway and Vice Chairman Dick Witcher – have drafted a proposal being distributed to members of Congress. It institutes a short-term 10 percent investment tax credit on the purchase of Class 8 trucks with engines meeting 2010 emissions regulations and a “green voucher” of $6,000-$8,000 for the purchase of Class 6 and 7 trucks, totaling no more than $3 billion.

Witcher says he is hopeful the coalition’s message that a new truck is an environmentally friendly truck will resonate with the president and Congress. “We’re building a coalition of support for these federal tax incentives to make sure the trucks on the road are cleaner, greener and safer,” Witcher says.