Maybe the consolidation of the industry's two largest dealer trade shows into a single ``Tire-Rubber Industry Week,'' will become a reality and maybe not. However, the long-discussed concept of combining the annual trade shows and membership gatherings of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, the American Retreaders Association and other industry groups deserves thorough and unbiased consideration.
And that can never happen unless all the interested parties approach the issue with open minds and without hidden motives.
Already, roadblocks to such a venture are springing up even though the first formal discussions on this subject, led by outgoing NTDRA President James Faught, are still nearly a month off.
Some tire industry factions worry they won't be adequately represented at the task force meetings, Nov. 7-8 in Cleveland. Others contend the agenda is heavily weighted in the NTDRA's favor. These groups need to give the discussion process a chance to work.
The four trade associations that put together the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week faced similar obstacles in organizing their giant trade show, now expected to draw 70,000 attendees in this its fourth year.
It took 15 years and a change in traditional thinking for that show to become a reality. The key was having ``somebody in the group act as a catalyst and who's willing to make some compromises and keep the principle of equity,'' said the executive vice president of one of the AAIW's sponsoring associations.
A joint NTDRA-ARA trade show, too, can become a reality provided those who make up the tire industry are willing to look for solutions that benefit all.
Every group's opinion is important and should be heard with an open mind. Only after all positions are made known can a realistic assessment take place.
Mr. Faught is attempting to serve as the ``catalyst'' for a combined NTDRA-ARA trade show, which offers positive benefits for dealers and suppliers alike. He and the concept deserve a fair hearing.