If LeBron Comes Back He’s Bringing a Tire Plant With Him - Tire Review Magazine

If LeBron Comes Back He’s Bringing a Tire Plant With Him

So yesterday the City of Cleveland, just a 30-minute drive from our headquarters, was selected to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Regardless the political persuasion, everyone around here is fired up and sees it as a huge win for the city and region.

And we’re all constantly refreshing our computer screens and smartphones trying to be the first with definitive, absolute, 100% verified, right-from-the-man-himself confirmation that King LeBron is returning to his magical home kingdom.

Back in Realityville, though, we’re also watching to see which fine place will land the still floating Goodyear plant. Since the tiremaker announced on May 29 that it would build a consumer tire plant somewhere in the Americas (South Carolina, anyone?), speculation has swirled around potential landing spots. Brazil, Columbia, Mexico as well as the U.S. have all come up in broad conversation, but Wingfoot has been extremely tight-lipped about its plans.

Certainly that will keep land speculators, legislators and Welcome Wagoners at bay, but that’s not slowing down the folks at City Hall in Akron or at the Akron Beacon Journal, both of which are making a case for the tiremaker’s ancestral home to reap the riches.

Akron City Council passed a resolution last week “urging” Goodyear to bring its new tire plant to former Rubber Capital of the World. “We’ve proven to Goodyear that we are willing to do what it takes,” Akron Councilman Jeff Fusco told the Beacon Journal. “We have the talent, infrastructure and loyalty. We are asking them to give us a shot!”

Mayor Don Plusquellic even sent a letter to the Goodyear search committee trying to get Akron shortlisted.

Unfortunately, no one seems to recall exactly why tire production left the fair city more than two decades ago. Oh well, we can still dream, right LeBron?

It appears no one outside of Goodyear HQ will know until the first quarter of 2015. At this point it’s anyone’s guess where the $500 million prize will land…but plenty of people are pretty sure where it won’t be.

* * * * * * * *

Speaking of new things in the U.S., Bridgestone Americas plans to complete renovations and conversion of its Muscatine, Iowa, training and education center by the end of this year. Once completed, the facility will be focused on truck tire and retread R&D work.

The first half of a two-stage renovation began a year ago at the former Bandag Learning Center, which first opened in 1999. The renovation is primarily focused on the interior – office space and meeting room conversions, with new carpeting and lighting. Exterior work will see a bigger parking lot and an improved building entrance.

The second stage will begin this fall and be completed in time for winter, closing out the physical shift for the building.

With the new digs, Bridgestone Americas will then consolidate its truck tire and retread R&D labs under one roof, improving communications within the group as well as with Bridgestone’s other R&D facilities in Akron, Tokyo and Rome. Also new there will be 30 additional engineers, half of which are already at work.

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Not too sure what to make of this, but the slate of candidates for spots on the TIA Board of Directors is quite light on independent tire dealers.

On the 2014 candidate rolls are 16 names from 16 companies, but only FOUR are actual dealers. [Side Note: One other candidate hails from Travel Centers of America (??) and another from Sam’s Club (?????).]

Running for office in 2013 were 18 candidates, only four of which were verifiable dealers. 2012 saw 23 candidates, of which seven were dealers, and 2011 had a ballot with 11 names, two of which were attached to tire dealers.

Why are there so few tire dealers willing to get involved?

Is it a trend? A cause for alarm? What’s the reason? Do tire dealer members feel disconnected? Or do they not care? Certainly I would like your take on it.

Meanwhile, members need to sharpen their pencils and cast their board ballots by Sept. 1. Winners will be announced prior to the upcoming 2014 SEMA Show/Global Tire Expo.

I hear LeBron will be there!

* * * * * * * *

Speaking of LeBron, I hear he doesn’t have a landline phone in his mega-mansion.

And neither do 41% of other less lordly Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which (believe it or not) has been tracking this phenomenon for a decade. Just five years ago, only about 20% of American had ditched their hardwired phones in favor of cellphones.

The CDC found, remarkably, that 3% of American homes have no form of telephonic device at all.

Some 9% have only landline phones (no celly) and about half (48%) have both hardwired and cellular phones. That’s up from 17% and 60%, respectively, five years ago.

Almost 66% of people in their late 20s live only with cellphones, but only 14% of people age 65 or older have cut the cord.

The study also found that men are more willing to walk away from landlines than women, and poor adults are more likely than higher-income people to have only cellphones.

The most wireless region? It’s the Midwest, where 44% live wire free; there are similar figures for the South and West. The Northeast, though, are more hard-wired: only 25% claim total cellphone devotion.

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