It's time for North America's two national tire dealer associations and other industry groups to come to grips with the question of holding their annual gatherings jointly-rather than individually-for the benefit of members and trade show exhibitors. Likelihood appears to be growing for what some have termed a ``super-'' or ``mega-show,'' combining the annual convention and trade show of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association with the ``World Tire Conference'' of the American Retreaders Association and perhaps other tire- industry gatherings. These are options worth exploring.
NTDRA President Jim Faught is right in moving such efforts forward with his plan to appoint a task force to study the possibility of a ``rubber/tire industry show week'' in which all segments of the tire industry would be welcome to participate.
Besides the NTDRA's executive committee, the task force likely will include representatives of the ARA, the Rubber Manufacturers Association, tire manufacturers and individual dealers, retreaders and distributors.
The NTDRA said the idea for creating the task force arose out of meetings it has conducted separately over the past year with the ARA and RMA to explore areas of potential cooperation-including a joint trade show.
Both the NTDRA and ARA have been pressured by suppliers either to combine their annual conventions or hold them on alternate years in order to spare suppliers the cost of exhibiting at two shows annually.
However, since both associations derive much of their operating revenues from trade show receipts, neither is likely to embark on such an enterprise without being sure they won't suffer financially as a result.
Many questions will need to be answered before determining whether the ``mega-show'' concept is viable.
However, with industry resources limited and travel and exhibit costs rising, all industry associations owe it to their members and trade show exhibitors to give the mega-show idea an honest and careful examination.
With show attendance and exhibitor enthusiasm waning, the industry's associations may need to close ranks.