Despite the slowing economy, 23,573 truck drivers, fleet owners and other industry employees flocked to Boston in May for the annual North American Truck Show.
That number is down 19 percent from last year, says Greg Coughlin, director of the show, which is operated by North American Expositions Inc., of Boston.
Still, the show had more companies exhibiting than last year, although they rented smaller spaces. “Business is down across the board,” Coughlin says. “There’s just nothing you can do about it.” The show, which primarily attracts New England drivers, should have a bigger turnout next year, he adds.
For driving instructor Ed Naples and his students, NATS was “a big hit.” For 15 years Naples has been loading his students onto a bus and driving them on a three-and-a-half-hour pilgrimmage from Mexico, Maine, to Boston for the show. They make the 175-mile return to Maine the same day.
“Nobody’s ever sorry they went,” Naples said. “The students just don’t realize how many components the truck breaks down into. They got to see transmissions, engines and lots of new trucks.” The group included three instructors and 18 students who have just completed their CDL training.