Celebrities. Cool cars. Hot new products. Plenty of floor traffic. The 2004 SEMA Show had it all, and then some. More than anything else, the 38th annual event had record attendance, if the preliminary count of approximately 105,000 attendees holds up, which is good news for the high performance market – especially tire and wheel dealers.
The tire industry itself was quite busy at the event. TIA, which sponsored the Performance Tires and Wheels section of the SEMA Show, installed its new president, Dick Gust, president of Lakin Environmental Industries. Gust outlined an aggressive agenda for his term, including the creation of a State Association Council, and continued emphasis on training and government relations.
Two new awards were unveiled by TIA at its annual Breakfast With the President event. The first was the TIA Member of the Year Award, presented to Joseph “Bud” Mullaney of Mullaney Tire Service in Matawan, N.J. A 24-year member of the TIA board of directors, Mullaney was the first chairman of the recently formed Membership Committee and drove efforts that resulted in a 50% increase in membership this year.
Sandra Martinez, TIA’s director of operations, received the TIA Employee of the Year Award for her efforts in consolidating and reorganizing various association operations.
The aforementioned State Association Council will provide a direct link between TIA’s executive committee and board of directors and state dealer/retreader associations and will focus on “coordinating activities between TIA and the state associations on issues of mutual benefit,” according to TIA.
Co-chairing the council are Shaw Jared of the Tennessee/Kentucky Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and Tom Wright, TIA treasurer and board member. Serving on the council will be Peggy Fisher, TIA secretary; Larry Morgan, advisor and TIA past president; Bob Smith, North Carolina Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association; Steve Akridge, Virginia Tire and Automotive Service Dealers Association; Shawn Herrick, Mid-America Tire Dealers Association; and Chuck Space, Texas Tire Dealers Association.
TIA and the RMA agreed to work together on a number of issues, particularly TREAD Act-related matters and state-level legislative issues. Specifically, the two groups targeted a five-point “cooperative agenda”: TREAD Act compliance, tire rolling resistance, tire service life, tire pressure monitoring system training and the inclusion of tread depth checks in annual state vehicle inspections.
For more on the SEMA Show, see our coverage beginning on page 34.
New Year Will Bring Significant Change to Tire Excise Tax
Significant changes taking effect Jan. 1 will impact the Federal Excise Tax (FET) on medium and heavy-duty truck tires and the way dealers and tiremakers will need to calculate the tax in the future.
The new FET calculation will be based on a tire’s load carrying capacity rather than a tire’s weight. Standard radial tires will now be taxed at 9.45 cents for each 10 pounds of load carrying capacity of a tire, which has greater than 3,500 pounds. However, bias-ply tires, wide base tires and super wide tires are to be taxed at 4.725 cents for every 10 pounds above the 3,500-pound capacity threshold. In all cases, the tax is applied to a tire’s maximum load capacity.
According to TIA, the association’s legal analysts say that dealers with tires in inventory that they have already paid FET on should pass the previous FET rate on to their customers. Dealers with questions regarding the new FET can either contact their tire supplier or contact TIA at 800-876-8372.
ACCC Adds Cooper-Made Lines to Fold, Revamping Credit Card Program
American Car Care Center dealers will have a new array of tires to sell in 2005, including private brand tires produced by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. The new tires, which will be produced by Cooper in the U.S., include the American Platinum, the American Prospector SUV and the American Prospector S/T.
The American Platinum, which will replace the American Silver and most of the American Gold lines previously produced by Michelin North America, will arrive in mid-March, according to ACCC officials. The T-rated American Platinum will have 18 sizes covering 14- through 17-inch wheel diameters, and there will be 16 H-rated sizes covering 14- to 16-inch diameters. The V-rated segment will have eight different 15- to 17-inch sizes.
The Prospector SUV, out in April, will feature 26 P-metric 15- to 17-inch sizes and 12 LT-metric sizes for 16- and 17-inch diameters, all targeting key SUV fitments, said ACCC. The Prospector A/T, with an aggressive all-terrain tread, will arrive in April/May with 13 P-metric sizes covering 15- through 17-inch diameters, and 13 LT-metric sizes covering 15- and 16-inch wheels and C, D, and E load ranges.
In addition, ACCC will no longer carry Warrior brand H- and T-rated tires, turning instead to a new H-rated Capitol brand produced by both Sumitomo Rubber Industries and Nexen. The V- and Z-rated Capitol Negotiator UHP line will cover 15- through 18-inch wheels, and include 18- to 22-inch tires for SUV fitment. The Capitol N5000 touring line is H-rated and will cover 14- to 16-inch diameter wheels, and the Capitol Roadian H/T will fill 15- and 16-inch sizes.
ACCC is relaunching its national credit card program with a new card through GE Credit Card Services that carries a lower discount rate and also allows consumers to use the card at Exxon stations.
With Union Agreement, Cooper-Standard Sale Will Move Forward
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is pressing ahead with the sale of its Cooper-Standard Automotive division after it reached an agreement with the United Steelworkers of America in early December that cleared the way for the sale of the unit for $1.165 billion to an entity created by The Cypress Group and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.
The union held up the sale process with an injunction, claiming it had the right to negotiate a new contract with any prospective buyer. The USWA and Cooper worked out an agreement, terms of which were not announced, that lifted the injunction and dismissed the tiremaker’s appeals of that injunction.
Meanwhile, Cooper extended the deadline to complete the sale of the automotive unit back to Jan. 31, 2005 from its original Dec. 15 date. Cooper official said they still expected to close the sale by the end of this year.
However, the amended sale agreement includes a post-sale price adjustment based on the working capital of the Cooper-Standard unit. The purchasing investors will reportedly hold out $30 million of the $1.165 billion purchase price to cover any necessary adjustment.
CMA Inc. Becomes API, Taking on New Products From India, Indonesia
Less than a year after becoming a separate entity, China Manufacturers Alliance Inc. has changed its name to American Pacific Industries Inc. (API), and expanded its product offering.
Jeff Kreiztman, CEO of the Valencia, Calif.-based API Inc., said the name change reflects the company’s growing manufacturing base in China and around the world and to end confusion between CMA Inc. and China Manufacturers Alliance LLC.
Last March, the then-China Manufacturers Alliance broke into two – CMA Inc., which is owned by Kreitzman and Wayne Hung, and CMA LLC, which is majority owned by Shanghai Tyre & Rubber Co.
API, which has doubled its sales volume, according to Kreitzman, recently began importing tires from India and plans to source product from Indonesia beginning in 2005. API added Pegasus and Nortech brands to its stable, which includes Advance, Armour, Gladiator, Vortex and Wynstar.
The company remains at its previous Valencia address, and can be reached at 800-944-8414. Its new Web address is www.americanpacificindustries.com.
Three More Tiremakers Jump Prices For 2005
Three tiremakers announced price increases that will take effect going into the new year. Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire (BFNAT), Continental Tire North America (CTNA) and Hankook Tire Corp. join Yokohama Tire Corp. and Pirelli Tire North America, which had previously announced price hikes.
BFNAT is raising OE and replacement market prices up to 5% on all of its passenger and light truck/SUV lines, by up to 7% on all of its medium truck tires, and by up to10% on all of its ag and OTR tires. The increases, which kick in Jan. 1 for the U.S. and Canada, cover all Bridgestone, Firestone and Dayton brand products, as well as associate and private brand lines.
CTNA is raising prices on its Continental, General and Semperit brand medium truck and OTR tires by 3% to 6% as of Jan. 1. In addition, CTNA will hike prices on its branded and private brand passenger and light truck/SUV tires by up to 6% as of Feb. 1. Hankook said it is increasing prices by 3% to 5% on all of its passenger, light truck/SUV and medium truck tires as of Jan. 1.
Previously, Yokohama announced a Dec. 31 increase of 3% to 5% on all of its consumer and commercial tires, while Pirelli took a 3% to 5% hike on all of its tires in December.
All Revved Up
No, he’s not driving one, but Tom Dattilo, chairman, president and CEO of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., will certainly have a great seat at all the races. At the recent SEMA Show, Cooper announced its selection as the official tire for the new A1 Grand Prix, a FIA-sanctioned series that will start next September and will feature races around the globe. Dattilo is shown here with one of the series’ cars. Cooper will provide radial slicks and race tires for all the teams for the entire series, tires that will be produced at its Melksham, England, facility. A1 Grand Prix pits race teams representing countries in a series of road course races. Though specific locations have not been named, the U.S. will host two events, with other races in Europe, South America, Australia, China, Japan, the Middle East and South Africa.
New Puncture Repair Chart Available From RMA
RMA issued several new or revised tire publications for tire service professionals, including an updated version of its popular tire repair procedures chart.
Each illustrated, 20×30-inch wall chart depicts the latest step-by-step industry-recommended tire puncture repair procedures (off-the-wheel, tread area only), and includes important information regarding puncture repair, location, injury limits and essential safety warnings and cautions.
Separate charts are available for passenger/light truck tires (through load range E) and for truck/bus tires (load range F and above).
RMA also published five new or revised Tire Information Service Bulletins (TISB):
• Volume 5 – Demounting and Mounting Procedures For Motorcycle Tires
• Volume 31 – Light Truck Tire Repair Limits
• Volume 41 – Tire Bead Lubricants; Mounting Aids and Bead Sealers; Sealants and Balancing Substances; and, Flammable Substances
• Volume 42 – Application of Winter/Snow Tires and Studded Winter/Snow Tires
• Volume 43 – Avoid Tire Bead Damage on Tire Mounting Machines That Secure The Rim From Underneath
RMA TISBs provide general guidelines and information on a variety of tire-related subjects, and can be downloaded via the Publications area of the RMA Web site at www.rma.org. The wall charts can be purchased online or by calling 800-325-5095 ext. 242.