AKRON—Tire dealers attending the International Tire Expo, Oct. 31-Nov. 3, will have to stroll over to the adjoining SEMA Show to visit most of the major tire makers' booths this year.
The Tire Association of North America, which sold all its ITE booth space, said it's not disappointed that most of the top 10 tire makers have opted to set up booths in the Specialty Equipment Market Association exhibit area of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week.
Rather, TANA Interim Executive Vice President Ross Kogel Jr. is encouraged by the number of tire makers exhibiting overall. He believes tire dealers and other ITE show visitors "don't mind walking to suppliers' booths a couple hundred feet away" in the SEMA exhibit area.
"It's all on the same floor," he said. The ITE area is specific to the tire industry, geared to tire dealers who also can wander over to the SEMA section for more specialty automotive products and services.
"It's marketing," Mr. Kogel reasoned. "The tire makers chose the best place on the (SEMA) show floor. When we (TANA) moved in, the tire makers stayed in the same spots they had for years. It's purely marketing and a question of where the most customers are."
Goodyear is the only one of the top nine tire makers with exhibit space in the TANA area. Goodyear will have various products on display at its SEMA booth and will sponsor a "Pitstop Challenge" activities booth in the TANA area, a company spokesperson said.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. was among the tire makers opting to exhibit only in the SEMA section.
A Cooper spokesperson said the company, which has a marketing alliance with Pirelli, wanted its booth to be near Pirelli's exhibit on the SEMA floor.
"To support both areas, we want to be close to the Pirelli (booth), and it was a scheduling situation (for booth personnel)," the spokesperson said, adding, "We totally support TANA. Just in this particular instance, it's a logistics decision."
"Pirelli has always been on the SEMA side," the Cooper spokesperson added. "We believe tire dealers interested in visiting our booths will walk through the entire show.|.|.|. People who seek us out will find us."
Meanwhile, Continental General Tire Inc. will not be exhibiting at all. "We are restructuring internally," a company spokesperson explained. "We are in the process of developing a new strategy and new planning."
She noted that company personnel will be present at the show to meet with OE and replacement market customers.
Ms. McCarron, a former Tire Business Staff Reporter, is a freelance writer based in Akron.