Distributors find wealth of new tools and training at Matco Tool Expo in San Diego

Close to 1,000 distributor teams converged on the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, Calif. recently for the Matco Tools Expo. Attendees spent several days seeing new tools at the trade show and attended training and networking events.

Distributors, tool manufacturers and Matco officials agreed the event was very upbeat as attendees learned about several new Matco tool offerings and had a chance to view new tools.

Tool highlights included cordless technology, new diagnostic tools and longer battery life. The trade show featured close to 230 new products, according to Matco.

Education sessions covered topics such as how to plan inventory effectively, what tools should be stocked to maximize sales, the nuts and bolts of mobile air conditioning, and a new diagnostic tool developed exclusively for Matco dealers.

A tool storage area outside the main trade show floor showcased some prototype tool storage concepts that the company developed with distributor input. There were also some new toolbox designs. “The green trim they’re raving about,” observed John Green Matco’s vice president of marketing and ecommerce.

A highlight of the tool storage area was a new interior truck design by Summit Bodyworks. The truck layout, which features shelf labels that can be changed and allow a dealer to rearrange the displays easily, is designed to stimulate buying.

Distributors received numerous incentives from manufacturers at the trade show; many commented that the manufacturer offers more than justified the expense of attending the show.

Tool manufacturers, for their part, noted that the show traffic was outstanding. Not only was the floor busy, but the distributors were placing orders.

“There’s a more positive outlook in 2013,” noted John Green, vice president of marketing and ecommerce for Matco Tools. He said distributors have already addressed the recession and are moving forward. “Their end customers are actually spending,” he said.

Green said the total automotive aftermarket is growing in high single digits to low double digits, depending on whose research you read. This growth fuels demand for the Matco distributors’ products and services.

To see photos from the show, click here.