Independent tire dealers won't be learning how well their suppliers have lived up to the precepts of the Tire Dealers' Bill of Rights during the past 12 months. The National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association decided against surveying its members this year, partly for economic reasons and partly because the association is revising the survey's concept to make it more meaningful to both manufacturers and dealers.
Which is fine, as long as the association doesn't drop the ball and fail to reinstate the Bill of Rights survey in 1996.
There's no question the Dealers' Bill of Rights has been controversial since its inception in 1992.
Many tire manufacturers view the document as adversarial and don't appreciate the annual member survey that asks dealers how well their suppliers are living up to the Bill's standards.
Some dealers, on the other hand, criticize the association's efforts as too timid. Instead of keeping the evaluations of individual tire makers confidential and revealing them only to the companies themselves, they want the results made public to ``hold the manufacturers' feet to the fire,'' as one dealer put it at last year's NTDRA convention in Dallas.
But all this controversy is the very reason the Bill of Rights is so important to tire dealers and suppliers, and why it should not be allowed to die.
The Bill and the annual survey foster communication between two groups that need each other but don't always see eye to eye, communication that can help-and is helping-improve relations between the two.
Last year's survey results seem to bear this out. Most manufacturers responded ``yes'' to the question ``Do you, as a manufacturer, feel the Bill of Rights is of benefit to you?''
And dealers reported an overall improvement in the level of satisfaction with their tire suppliers.
These are strong endorsements for reinstating the annual Tire Dealer's Bill of Rights survey in 1996. We hope the NTDRA follows through.