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SEMA Show 2007 Wrap-up

Missed the SEMA Show? We’ve got you covered – from the latest news and announcements to the hottest new tires and equipment.

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The Tire Industry Association made several announcements during events it hosted at the SEMA Show, which included a welcome reception, annual meeting and a breakfast with the president.

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At its annual meeting, TIA welcomed 13 new members to its board of directors.

Ten members elected to serve three-year terms were Gary Albright, Becker Tire & Treading, Great Bend, Kan.;  Michael Baggett, Yokohama OTR Division, Santa Rosa, Fla.;  Mike Berra, Community Tire Retreading, Maryland Heights, Mo.; Larry Brandt, MSB Tires, Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Randall Groh, U.S. Oil Co., Combined Locks, Wis.; Bob Katz, Nu-Tread Tire & Auto Service Center, East Boston, Mass.;  James Raben, Raben Tire Co., Evansville, Ind.; Warren Secord, Warren Secord Tire Factory, Kent, Wash.; Doug Swanson, Modern Auto Care, Eden Prairie, Minn.; and Stu Zurcher, Transwheel Corp., Huntington, Ind.

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Mike Wolfe of Southeastern Wholesale Tire Co., Raleigh, NC, was elected to fill a two-year term, and elected to two open one-year term positions were Robert Ross of Hercules Tire Co. of Ontario, and Jim Short of Radial Tire and Bandag, Jasper, Ala.

Scholarship Recipients
Also announced at the annual meeting were the three winners of the Michelin North America/TIA Scholarship Program. The program, open to children of TIA member companies pursuing a college education, has given away over $200,000 in scholarships since its inception in 1995.

This year’s recipients were: $10,000 to Ashley Broesch of Omaha, Neb.; $5,000 to Samantha Gollub of Dartmouth, Mass.; and $5,000 to Ruth Raisner of Vacaville, Calif.

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Show Kickoff
At its annual Breakfast With the President to kick off this year’s SEMA Show, TIA welcomed eight new members to the Tire Industry Hall of Fame including Norman Affleck, retired president and CEO of Big O Tires; and Craig Anderson, retired president and CEO of Hercules Tire & Rubber Co., as well as six other industry pioneers inducted as Historical Contributors: Ira J. Cooper, who formed the Cooper Corp., later known as Cooper Tire and Rubber Co.; Robert Eisentrout, former president of BFGoodrich Tire Co. and the acknowledged “father of American performance tires;” Otto and Willy Gruber, founders of Stahlgruber Otto Gruber GmbH, known as Rema Tip Top; and Rudy Holman and Neil McIntyre, developers of the Orbitread tread stock extruder.

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In addition, industry analyst Saul Ludwig, managing director for KeyBanc Capital Markets, received TIA’s Friend of the Industry Award.

Also at the event, outgoing TIA President Paul Hyatt and incoming President Peggy Fisher both addressed the attendees.

Hyatt looked back on his successful year as president, especially his efforts during TIA’s Year of the International Dealer, where international membership increased and TIA began offering multi-language training programs.

Fisher – only the second woman to head the association – outlined her plans for the coming year, including focus on the long-planned tire industry check-off program (TIRES), as well as building on TIA’s training and education arsenal.

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At the end of the breakfast, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. gave away a check for $20,000 to Kimberly Jarvis of Midwest Tire & Auto Repair in Schererville, Ind.

Other Announcements
During the course of the week TIA announced other important news, as well.

The association unveiled a policy resolution regarding the industry’s growing concern over “look-alike” tires, products with tread patterns that allegedly mimic or are identical to popular major brand models.

TIA pledged to work with the RMA to share information pertaining to the problem. In addition, TIA issued a member bulletin on look-alike tires, outlining potential problems and their liability should problems arise.

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The bulletin said, in part: “A tire is not always the tire you, or perhaps your customer, think it is. In fact, while the outside appearance of two different tires with the same tread design may be similar, there is no guarantee that the rubber compound is also the same.

“Many of the “look-alike” tires use fillers that do nothing for performance, TIA said. “While these tires appear to be the same, they are very different when it comes to the technology behind the construction and rubber compounds.”

TIA also announced a new partnership with eBay that will incorporate TIA member information into eBay’s vehicle and automotive parts area, including the tire portal.

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When an eBay Motors customer purchases a tire or wheel product, they will be notified that a local TIA member dealer can be found via the eBay Motors tire portal, TIA said. And TIA members will have the opportunity to feature their own business on eBay Motors.

Continental Drives Visitor Excitement
Continental Tire North America drew SEMA attendees out of the convention center and into the driver’s seat with its test drive event, featuring its latest offerings in ultra high performance tires: the ContiSportContact 3 and General Exclaim UHP.

The course included an acceleration run, skid pad and slalom. The ContiSportContact3 tires were fitted onto Lexus IS 350s, while the Exclaim UHPs proved their worth on Ford Mustangs.

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The ContiSportContact 3 promotes shorter breaking, extra grip and responsive handling, the company said. The tire features ribbed tread, an asymmetrical pattern, specialized tread patterns for rear wheel drive vehicles and a state-of-the-art silica tread compound.

The Exclaim UHP is an all-season radial that features a “double V” tread pattern, a silica compound and wide, solid shoulder lugs. The tire is designed for remarkable traction and mileage, the company said.

SEMA News Makers
A new Spike TV series, SEMA Zone, will premier Feb. 2, 2008, and bring SEMA to the general public. The series, hosted by former SEMA chairman Corky Coker, will provide an insider look into the industry’s most influential personalities, ideas and innovative products.

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. put six of its dealers behind the wheel of either a 2008 Ford Roush 427R Mustang or a 2008 Ford Roush F-150 pickup, both equipped with Cooper tires. The contest, part of the launch of the CS4 Touring tire, was open to Cooper direct dealers. The winners were: Tire Pros of Rhode Island, Pawtucket, R.I.; Reno Vulcanizing, Reno, Nev.; Clayton Tire, Urbana, Ohio; Thomason Tire, McKinney, Texas; Mills Fleet & Farm, Brainerd, Minn.; and Carroll Tire, Juno Beach, Fla.

Bill Rodgers Jr., of Lee-Rodgers Tire Co. in Birmingham, Ala., won Continental Tire North America’s sweepstakes drawing. Rodgers won a special-edition Lexus IS 250, custom-built by West Coast customs.

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Pirelli proclaimed its re-emergence into American motorsports by announcing it will become the spec tire for the Rolex Grand Am Sports Car Series, presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. The company specifically designed and labeled its P Zero racing slick for the series.

Cooper announced it will partner with Champ Car to promote the Hands on the Wheel program, which advocates safe driving practices for teens. The program educates teen drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, with an emphasis on text messaging.

Stu Waterson of Tires Plus won a new Volvo C30 by beating out 30 other players in Yokohama Tire Corp.’s Beat the Odds blackjack tournament for its dealers. Mike Bailey of Discount Tire finished second and took $5,000 in casino chips, and Jeff Helfrich of Big O Tire won $1,000 in casino chips.

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Pirelli announced it will be the tire supplier for the TV show Overhaulin’, hosted by Chip Foose. The SEMA edition was filmed at this year’s show, where Foose and his crew transformed an average ride into a work of automotive art in just one week.

Dunlop’s booth drew a large crowd with the appearance of celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D, star of TLC’s “LA Ink.” Attendees were able to pose for photos with Von D and get an autograph, as well as enter a contest to win a trip to her studio to receive a tattoo.

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SEMA Showcase
Chicago Pneumatic has added more than 500 individual sockets to its impact socket line, expanding its offering from 28 to 44 sets for a grand total of 774 impact sockets. The new line features universal and magnetic impact sockets in a large range of metric and fractional sizes, in both standard and deep socket depths.

Dunlop added seven new sizes in its SP Sport Signature ultra-high-performance line: 225/45R17 94W, 225/50R17 94W, 235/45R17 97W, 245/40R17 91W, 245/40R18 92W, 225/40R18 92W and 245/45R18 100W. An eighth size, a 20-incher, to be added soon.

Walker will add more than 600 new exhaust/emission control parts in its exhaust product line in 2008, including 150 new catalytic converter SKUs, 54 Walker Quiet-Flow premium mufflers and assemblies, dozens of new Walker Sound FX mufflers, 113 new pipe SKUs, 139 commercial vehicle SKUs and more than 100 additional performance systems, mufflers and related components.

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HRE Performance Wheels, a maker of forged aluminum custom wheels, launched its 790R three-piece forged wheel series along with new applications in the Monoblok one-piece forged wheels series and three new styles in its second generation of competition forged wheel series. The company is also adding three new styles to its competition wheels for Porsche, Ferrari, BMW and others in 18- and 19-inch diameters.

TCI says its new RPM zone is a premium program designed for qualifying T3 dealer members who cater to ultra high performance enthusiasts. Participating members will receive tire and wheel displays, posters, bay banners, point-of-sale materials, counter cards, window decals, brochures and a state-of-the-art wheel and tire kiosk. TCI says it will also replace qualifying RPM Zone V- to Z-rated brands, due to road hazard damage during the first 25% of usable tread life.

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Goodyear’s newest Eagle features what it calls “active corner grip technology,” designed to maintain tread contact pressure on the road to enhance grip while cornering. The new tire will available in North America by the end of 2007 in 27 sizes.

Two of Vredestein’s three newest tires, the all-season Quatrac 3 and the Wintrac Xtreme winter tire line, feature run-flat technology in certain sizes. Its brand new Ultrac SUV Sessanta, now available in 12 sizes, comes with XL capacity in all but one size and also carries the now-famous Giugiaro design. Vredestein says it will gradually expand the number of available sizes for its new SUV Sessanta tire.

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Goodyear’s Dunlop brand group rolled out its new Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1, an “extreme performance summer tire for hard-core driving enthusiasts and car-club members,” and its SP Sport Maxx GT, a premium UHP summer tire targeting supercars and pure sport cars.

Hankook Tire America Corp. says it has created a UHP tire that delivers unrivaled comfort during high speed driving, the Ventus V12 evo K110. The K110 is a Z-rated street tire and comes in 25/30/35/40/45/50 series.

Sumitomo’s new HTRZ III is described as a maximum performance tire designed to fit a wide variety of vehicles. Currently available in more than 30 sizes, the new tire will be offered in even more sizes in 2008.

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Drivers searching for great handling and traction in an all-season tire need look no further than Maxxis’ Victra Z4S. The new tire comes with a solid center rib designed for high-speed stability, a silica based tread compound for fuel economy and enhanced wet and dry traction.

A new line of General Grabber off-road competition tires has been designed with tough, three-ply Duragen-reinforced body construction and a competition specific tread compound, available in size 37×12.50R17 for Class 1, Class 7S, 7 unlimited, Class 8 and Trophy Truck.

International Marketing Inc. has developed XactBalance, the first lead-free dynamic wheel weight made for all types and sizes of wheels. The product can be installed using standard tire balancing equipment and features adhesive tape that allows for repositioning prior to being firmly and permanently pressed into place.

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The Toyo Proxes R1R has made its debut in the U.S. as an extreme performance tire for sports coupes and sedans. Four sizes are being offered initially, fitting 15- to 18-inch wheel diameters, with more to come in 2008.

Lexani Performance Tires introduced 23 new sizes for its N3000 and Roadian HP lines. The new UHP Lexani N3000 will get 11 new 17- to 22-inch sizes particularly oriented for staggered vehicle fitments. The Lexani Roadian HP, for light truck/SUV applications, will get 12 new sizes covering 18- to 24-inch fitments, including a 295/35R24 size.

Car-Parts Technologies’ VAST software is a complete shop management solution that will transform ordinary business transactions into revenue generating opportunities with each customer interaction, the company says. It can improve cash flow with effective inventory management and increase shop capacity by scheduling work in advance, using the appointment calendar and electronically checking orders for accurate price and availability.

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According to its maker, Tire Grip is designed to help vehicles get a grip on icy roads. Its exclusive technology coats tires with an adhesive film to provide a secure grip on the road and prevent ice and snow from accumulating on the tires, says the company.

Kumho has unveiled a new luxury tire, the Ecsta LX Platinum featuring an asymmetrical tread design, 3D waffle sipes, a jointless nylon cap and a 60,000-mile limited tread wear warranty. Nine sizes of Kumho’s new tire will be available in the first quarter of 2008.

Continental Tire North America is adding 40 popular sizes to its ContiSportContact 3 tire line. New fitments include sizes in 16- to 21-inch applications.

The TC3510 tire changer from Hunter Engineering includes all the advanced features of Hunter’s popular TC3500, but has a high-torque electric motor to better service difficult tire and wheel assemblies. The lift handles wheels up to 140 lbs.

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New from Chicago Pneumatic is the CP7600, which combines the functions of an impact and a torque wrench in one product engineered for the user’s requested torque setting. The CP7600 is available in four versions with a varying number of torque settings in both forward-only and forward and reverse.

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