NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has scheduled its annual Consumer Tire Dealer Meeting for Nov. 5-6 to coincide with the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW) shows in Las Vegas. Last year, BFS held the event the day before the start of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association convention and trade show in New Orleans.
The change in venue would appear to be a blow to the NTDRA, which is seeking to boost dealer attendance at its annual gathering in part by encouraging tire suppliers, private brand groups and dealer-driven marketing groups to hold their annual meetings in conjunction with its convention.
But Paul Bobzin, NTDRA president, said he doesn't ``begrudge Bridgestone/Firestone at all,'' noting all tire makers have been holding independent dealer meetings for years. ``I just wish all the manufacturers would agree to have (their dealer meetings) in one spot during one week out of the year,'' he said.
BFS did say it will exhibit at the 1996 NTDRA convention in Atlanta.
The company scheduled its meeting to coincide with AAIW because ``it is the show for the automotive aftermarket, of which tires are an important part,'' according to a BFS spokesman.
AAIW consists of two shows: SEMA/AI, sponsored by the Specialty Equipment Market Association and Auto International Association; and the MEMA/APAA/ASIA show sponsored by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, the Automotive Parts & Accessories Association and the Automotive Service Industry Association.
By shifting the venue, the tire maker hopes to boost the value of its Consumer Tire meeting for attending dealers, the spokesman said, as well as attract 2,000 dealers and spouses to the event, which will be held at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. This would nearly double the record of 1,250 attendees at last year's meeting held in the Louisiana Superdome.
This year's meeting, featuring a boxing theme, will be outdoors-a first for the tire industry, BFS said.
Dealers attending the meeting will receive free registration to the SEMA/AI show, courtesy of BFS.
``If the dealers who attended our meeting in New Orleans thought that was a good one, they won't believe this one,'' said John Gamauf, Bridgestone/Firestone's vice president of consumer tire sales.