The first Trailer Innovation Awards were presented in 2002. The idea, initiated by Jörg Montag  and Folkher Braun (trailer test expert of the magazine KFZ-Anzeiger), from the start was to give due credit to innovations in the European trailer and bodybuilding industries, as distinct from more glamorous trucks and vans. Trailers and bodies had seldom been in the spotlight. The VDA has been an enthusiastic supporter of the idea from the start, and Trailer Innovation Awards are now an integral part of the programme of events during the IAA Nutzfahrzeuge show.

The response from manufacturers in 2002 exceeded all expectations, presenting the jury (then with five members) the challenge of determining one winner from 39 contenders. The first winner, by a wide margin, was the Multi-Lock/Multi-Block load securing system from Krone.

These days there are 16 members of the jury, typically faced with judging around one hundred entries overall, in seven categories.