Missed this year’s Global Tire Expo/SEMA Show? Tire Review has you covered – with the latest news and announcements, plus the hottest new tires and equipment, straight from the show floor.
Now in its second year, the Global Tire Expo portion of the SEMA Show housed in a special section covering two-thirds of the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center was the place to be for tire- and wheel-related exhibitors and attendees.
According to the Tire Industry Association, more than 132,000 people attended the SEMA Show/GTE, with a record-breaking 61,000 buyers specifically interested in tires and tire-related products. At the show’s opening, there were 2,163 registered SEMA exhibitors, up more than 200 from 2010’s mark of 1,946.
Industry Greats Honored
TIA’s Tire Industry Honors program now in its third year saw a record number of people present to watch the induction of four new members into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame. Added to the Hall of Fame were:
Bill Fountain, co-founder of Edmonton, Alb.-based Fountain Tire, who later joined with other tire dealers from Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to form Astro Tire & Rubber Co.
John Gamauf, former head of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.’s consumer tire division, who created the company’s Affiliated Dealer Program and is widely considered as a key player in Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.’s and the Firestone brand’s survival from the Ford/Firestone tire recall of 2000.
Onkar Kanwar, chairman of India’s Apollo Tyres Ltd., who transformed the tiremaker from an ailing company to the number one tire manufacturer in India and now a global entity with a full-fledged product portfolio, manufacturing facilities on three continents and multiple brands across product segments.
Ralph “Buddy” Snow, vice president and general counsel for Oliver Rubber Co., who was one of the founders of the Tread Rubber & Tire Repair Materials Manufacturing Group, and was actively involved in the formation of the Tire Retread Information Bureau.
After the inductions, Tire Review announced its 2011 Top Shop Award winner, Virginia Tire & Auto, with 11 locations in the Washington, D.C., area. Representing the dealership at the ceremony were Julie and Mike Holmes, Carole Boncarosky and founder Myron Boncarosky, who accepted the award on behalf of the business, as well as the winner’s check for $1,500. The dealership also will receive a Coats ProGuard Leverless tire changer.
Also recognized were 2011 Top Shop finalists Hay Tire Co., with two locations in Charleston, S.C.; Family Tire & Auto Service, headquartered in New Bern, N.C., with another location in Morehead City, N.C.; and Tate Boys Tire & Service, based in Bartlesville, Okla., with four locations. Each of these dealerships will receive a $500 check, along with a Coats 1250-3DV tire/wheel balancer.
Tackling Industry Issues
During its annual general membership meeting, held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, outgoing TIA president Mike Berra passed the ceremonial gavel to Larry Brandt, and welcomed seven new and returning board members, all elected to three-year terms.
TIA officials reported that association membership rose by 620 over the last 12 months, pushing membership above 6,000, a group that sports more than 15,000 individual points of sale in the U.S.
TIA treasurer Tom Formanek reported to members that the association ended its most recent fiscal year “in the black,” and that current cash reserves remained level with last year “despite the ups and downs of the stock market.” He said TIA’s financial condition is solid.
Much of TIA’s revenue continues to come from its already extensive training programs. Brandt spotlighted new initiatives for 2012, starting with the creation of TIA’s Learning Management System, which will take online its current Automotive Training Service, Commercial Training Service, Earthmover Training Service and TPMS training. That addition will occur in the first quarter of 2012, he said.
Spanish-language versions of the ATS and ETS training programs also will be launched next year, Brandt said, and by 2013 an all-new farm tire training program will be launched. Also in 2012, Brandt said, TIA will take its ATS training effort on the road, with a 28-city blitz. (For locations and dates, click here.)
On another front, Brandt said one of his goals in 2012 is to improve TIA’s relationship with the RMA, and to continue strengthening the bond between the tire group and SEMA.
Also during the general meeting, TIA members passed three resolutions, one in support of the U.S. government maintaining the long-standing use of “last in, first out” as the accepted means for inventory accounting; a second calling on Congress to tackle lawsuit abuse; and a third supporting HR2082, the “Returning Heroes Tax Credit.”
TIA expanded its daily educational seminars, drawing more crowds than ever before. Returning were the [email protected], Truck [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] seminars, in addition to new [email protected] sessions.
Each seminar highlighted ways to improve tire dealers’ businesses, including the “Successful Tire Dealers Share Their Secrets” session, led by Virginia Tire & Auto’s Mike Holmes and 2008 Tire Review Top Shop finalist Lex Brodie’s Scott Williams; and “What Women Want,” in which AskPatty.com CEO Jody DeVere offered dealers tips for marketing to women.
Aside from the myriad of education sessions, TIA also unveiled the newest version of its TPMS Relearn Chart, which includes domestic and import vehicles through model year 2011. The chart serves as a valuable, comprehensive and quick reference guide that technicians can easily navigate to service most vehicles equipped with TPMS, TIA said.
The association also announced it has entered into an agreement with Tiremetrix, a Michigan-based software company, to co-develop an enhanced digital version of Tiremetrix’s TPMS Manager subscription software. An added benefit for TIA members, the new version of TPMS Manager-Powered by TIA will combine Tiremetrix’s existing TPMS Manager data and software platform with extensive TPMS training and a video library supplied by TIA.