The Twin Cities Auto Show, Minnesota’s largest annual trade show, announced today plans for a first-of-its-kind, annual National Truck Summit that will take place on Friday , March 6, prior to the opening of the annual Twin Cities Auto Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Minnesota leads the nation in truck sales, making it a perfect place to hold the event. Each year, the Twin Cities Auto Show serves as a gateway for light truck and SUV sales in the Upper Midwest. The Minnesota light truck/SUV market is over 82 percent of all vehicles sold, while nationally sales are just 69 percent of all vehicles sold. Crossovers, SUV’s and light trucks clearly dominate U.S. vehicle sales, to the point where companies like Ford are phasing out sedans. Light truck retail sales in the US in 2019 increased to 12.2 million units, the highest level on record.
The National Truck Summit will feature industry leaders from a variety of truck manufacturers including keynote speaker Ryan Nagode from RAM. The panel will also feature Jay Sackett from Toyota, Tim Stoehr, Ford North America Product Line Manager for Trucks and Matt Weiss from JATO Dynamics.
Nagode was named Chief Designer, RAM Truck/Commercial/Performance Interior Studios in January 2017. He is responsible for developing a cohesive and consistent interior design language that is representative of each brand and its heritage. Since first joining the company in 2003 as a Product Designer, he has been involved with numerous vehicles and has held a series of positions of increasing responsibility.
RAM has been able to make an impact in the pickup market with a mix of power, style and luxurious interiors that have raised the bar of what people expect from a truck. When you think of a pickup truck, construction workers or farmers might come to mind, but RAM has broadened its base by offering amenities and technologies that make its trucks more than capable of being everyday vehicles that can take the place of a utility vehicle or car. Nagode has been a critical piece in the transformation of RAM interiors. The plush interiors are a key differentiator that helped Ram surpass the Chevrolet Silverado in sales for the first time in 2019. While Ram wasn’t first with a true luxury pickup interior – that honor belongs to King Ranch editions of the Ford F-series pickup – Nagode’s team has raised the stakes for all competitors in the segment.
Matt Weiss from JATO Dynamics will be at the summit to share information and lead a panel discussion about everything from the potential for Amazon to enter the vehicle marketplace to people, companies like Tesla creating new brands to sell light trucks, to the impact driverless and electrified vehicle development could have on light trucks and its thriving marketplace.
“An event of this type is long overdue,” said Weiss. “Light trucks and SUV’s are becoming looked upon as luxury vehicles for the amenities they have.”
“The truck market doesn’t have one particular niche,” said Weiss. “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 SUV’s are capable of now and in the future is important to further raise awareness of this key part of our economy.”
Sackett is an Executive Program Manager at the Toyota Technical Center. He has more than 25 years of experience with Toyota in several roles including vehicle performance development.
“This purpose of this event is to show the capabilities of today’s trucks and to show how future trends will continue to keep these relevant in the marketplace,” said Weiss. “Having this event in a hotbed for truck sales is very fitting and I look forward to being at this event prior to the Auto Show.”
NATIONAL TRUCK SUMMIT AT-A-GLANCE:
WHAT: National Truck Summit
WHO: Ryan Nagode; RAM, Jay Sackett; Toyota, Tim Stoehr; Ford North
America Product Line Manager for Trucks, Matt Weiss; JATO Dynamics
WHEN: Friday March 6th, 2020.
PROMOTIONAL PARTNER: Automotive News