The National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association convention and trade show is the largest annual gathering of independent tire dealers in North Amer-ica-maybe even the world. Yet this year, for some reason, all but three of North America's largest tire makers declined to take booth space at the show and exhibit their flag brand lines. Nor did they sponsor hospitality suites for their dealers.
Yet those same firms that opted out of this year's NTDRA convention-Goodyear, Michelin North America, Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp., General Tire, Yokohama Tire Corp. and Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp.-all plan to display their products at the combined Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week trade shows in Las Vegas during November.
Some even will introduce tire lines at AAIW.
What's going on?
Independent tire dealers move more than half of the replacement tires sold annually in North America.
With that kind of marketing clout, you'd think tire companies would make it a priority to give independent dealers-their best customers-the first view of their newest products. More importantly, you'd think they would insist upon having a presence at the industry's largest convention in order to reinforce their partnerships with dealers.
One reason for the AAIW shows' appeal may be their huge attendance. While it's true these shows are expected to draw an estimated 55,000 people, compared with the NTDRA's approximately 7,000, only about 700 of those preregistered for AAIW are tire dealers. The largest dealer audience, by far, attends the NTDRA convention.
But if the reason is that tire makers are dissatisfied with the NTDRA's trade show set-up or attendance, they should make their complaints known to the association's leadership so they can address the situation.
As for next year, it's the NTDRA's 75th anniversary convention. We encourage tire makers to take part in that gathering and demonstrate support for those customers-independent tire dealers-who sell the majority of their tires.