WASHINGTON-The National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association is determined to organize a rubber/tire industry show week, or exhaust all efforts trying. That's the goal of NTDRA President James Faught, who plans to appoint a task force to explore the concept. The task force is expected to include the NTDRA executive committee, tire manufacturer executives, representatives of the Rubber Manufacturers' Association and the American Retreaders Association, as well as tire dealers, retreaders and distributors.
The task force's creation is a result of meetings the NTDRA has conducted separately with the ARA and RMA since late last year to explore areas of potential cooperation, including a joint trade show.
Mr. Faught envisions an ``industry week'' approach that could include a joint tire industry trade show, individual company meetings, educational sessions, dealer services, seminars, technical presentations and association meetings.
``We believe that there is a definite need for such a project,'' he said. ``Examining our common interests in a cooperative manner is an approach which would benefit every segment of the industry.
``NTDRA believes that this approach could mutually benefit dealers, retreaders, manufacturers, distributors and others involved in the replacement tire market.''
Once the task force members are determined, Mr. Faught expects the first meeting to be conducted well before the NTDRA convention and trade show in October. With a ``realistic'' target of 1997 as the first year for an industrywide show, the task force ``can't start too early,'' Mr. Faught said. ``Now is the time to make a serious effort to pull something together.''
Mr. Faught went on to say that he wants the task force to actively work on formulating a joint show concept ``until it's put together, or close (the issue) because it can't be done.''
For the past few years, several automotive aftermarket trade associations have combined their shows and meetings into the annual Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week. The NTDRA felt competitive pressure from this show last fall when six tire makers opted to skip the NTDRA show and exhibit at the AAIW shows.
But the major stumbling block to a joint tire industry trade show is the potential drop in revenues the NTDRA and ARA depend on to finance their operations.
The NTDRA garners a ``significant percentage of its revenues'' from its annual convention and trade show, Mr. Faught admitted. The ARA is estimated to derive about two-thirds of its yearly income from its ARA World Tire Conference and Exhibition each spring.
``We recognize (show) revenues for the ARA and NTDRA have significant impact for both associations and (that issue) has to be worked on to the satisfaction of both,'' Mr. Faught said.
Other obstacles Mr. Faught foresees: ``people without vision'' and the concept of ``tradition'' some executives or administrators have regarding trade shows. ``It's a matter of orienting them to what the trends really are,'' he said.
Mr. Faught links his drive for an industrywide trade show to members' desire for improvements in the NTDRA show-namely, that they want to see more tire companies on the trade show floor.
``We're responding to dealer/exhibitor/supplier direction,'' Mr. Faught said.
But while the NTDRA concept may sound similar to the increasingly popular Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week, that is where Mr. Faught draws the line. ``We don't want to see the tire industry swept into that and see the dilution of the training aspects.''
He said the AAIW is geared to automotive service people and body shops, although a growing number of tire makers are exhibiting at this show. Mr. Faught contends that tire dealers need their own show week that would include training and educational seminars currently provided by the NTDRA and ARA shows.
ARA Executive Director Marvin Bozarth agreed. ``I think (a combined show week) needs to be `rubber industry' (oriented)-that's related to transportation and tires and the part of transportation that relates to tires-and not get into rebuilt motor blocks and crankshafts and cam shafts. That doesn't tie in with our industry very well.''
Mr. Bozarth said the ARA intends to participate in the task force discussions, and during the ARA board's summer meeting in June, the directors agreed meetings and discussions with the NTDRA should continue.
``If we can continue to provide the same services, the same quality of shows, the same quality of workshops, I can't see anything negative,'' Mr. Bozarth said.
However, he had reservations about referring to a joint industry trade exhibition as a ``super show'' that would draw twice as many attendees. ``Because so many people attend both shows, I just don't think it's practical to think that way,'' he said. ``To call it a `mega-show,' I think, would be a misstatement.''
RMA President Thomas Cole was unavailable for comment.