DIAMOND BAR, Calif.—So far, the reformatted 1997 National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association trade show has attracted as many new tire company exhibitors as returning ones, but four major tire manufacturers aren't among the booth buyers. The NTDRA show will be held in conjunction with the giant Specialty Equipment Market Association/Auto International Association (SEMA/AI) Show as part of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas, Nov. 4-7. The NTDRA has sold about 75 percent of its booth space in a quonset hut-type building outside the Las Vegas Convention Center housing the SEMA/AI show.
As of May 15, the NTDRA show had sold 294 of its 400 booths to 86 companies. Half those exhibitors indicated in their contracts that they will be featuring tires, tubes, retreads, repair materials and scrap tire processing, according to SEMA, which is handling booth sales for both shows.
All but four of the top 10 tire manufacturers are among the NTDRA exhibitors. And those missing are major suppliers—Goodyear, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp.—which have chosen to exhibit at the larger SEMA/AI show.
The NTDRA show floor so far will feature 24 tire makers which were present at last year's Atlanta show—including Continental General Tire Inc., Dunlop Tire Corp., Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc., Nokian Tyres, Titan Wheel International, Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp. and Yokohama Tire Corp., as well as major tire marketers American Car Care Centers and TBC Corp.
Dunlop, Michelin North America's BFGoodrich brand, Toyo and Yokohama will exhibit at both the NTDRA and SEMA shows.
However Goodyear, BFS and Cooper, which each exhibited at both shows last year when they were held on separate dates and at different venues, have so far only opted to exhibit at the SEMA show this year.
Goodyear said it decided to set up only one booth and chose the SEMA floor. ``It is our understanding that the traffic flow is such that it will wander through both shows for one admission cost,'' a Goodyear spokesman said.
Cooper likewise decided to maintain its spot in the SEMA show, feeling the company will still be part of the NTDRA event due to the expected flow of traffic between the two adjacent facilities. ``We saw no reason for exposure in both halls,'' a company spokeswoman said.
BFS has purchased a booth at the SEMA show already, but a spokesman said the company has not finalized its plans for the Las Vegas event and is still looking at what it will do at the NTDRA show.
Meanwhile, Pirelli has not exhibited at the NTDRA show for several years, but has been a regular at the SEMA show. ``It was our decision to remain in the same general area (of the SEMA show) where we have exhibited for years,'' a PATC spokesman said of the company's decision not to exhibit at the NTDRA pavilion.
``We felt SEMA is a better show for us in terms of the type of performance products being exhibited there. We felt in terms of buyers, SEMA is a much more productive show for Pirelli,'' the PATC spokesman said, adding: ``We do endorse the decision to combine the (SEMA and NTDRA) shows.''
NTDRA Executive Vice President David Poisson said he does not fault companies which chose to exhibit only at the SEMA show. ``They have to do what is in their best interest as a business in the tire industry,'' he said. ``They are strong and loyal supporters of SEMA and have seniority on the floor.''
The tire makers not exhibiting ``intend to provide hospitality events for the dealers and underwrite events we're holding.
``The whole point (of the shows' merger) was to create a venue where people are not compromised as to where they held their booth,'' Mr. Poisson said.
Physically, the NTDRA trade show will be smaller than past solo shows. The 1996 Atlanta show had 530 booths and 176 exhibitors; this year the show will feature 400 10x10-ft. booths.