LOUISVILLE, KY.—Efforts by the International Tire and Rubber Association to boost offshore attendance at its World Tire Conference & Exposition are paying off in the opinion of the group's managing director, Marvin Bozarth. Although official tallies show only a modest increase in the number of international attendees at this year's Louisville gathering—710 vs. 704 in 1996—Mr. Bozarth believes the total actually was higher.
An unknown number of foreign visitors, he said, registered using the name and address of their U.S. affiliates. Therefore, they were not counted as part of the show's international attendance.
By official count, for example, only 37 persons attended from Japan. But Mr. Bozarth said he knows of one Japanese company alone that brought 18 people to the show—all of whom registered under the name of the firm's Louisville-based subsidiary.
Moreover, ITRA's managing director said he personally met more people attending the show from Australia and New Zealand than the numbers listed on the international tally sheet.
He said ITRA will continue to push for international attendance at the show and seek closer ties with other related associations around the world.
``They all are hungry for training and information,'' said Mr. Bozarth, who said he was amazed at the number of international attendees who expressed interest in affiliating with ITRA to exchange information between national groups and work on programs of mutual benefit.
In Europe, for example, efforts are under way to formulate a uniform retread standard for all the countries making up the European Union. As envisioned, he said, the proposed European standard would be based on those existing in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Both countries' requirements are more stringent than those of the U.S. Yet most European retreaders support the concept of a mandatory retread standard, according to Mr. Bozarth.
``I think that's one reason why passenger tire retreading has been more successful over there than in the U.S.,'' he said. Prompted by the tougher standards, Europe's passenger tire retreaders have upgraded their equipment and technology and are doing bead-to-bead retreading, he added.