Gearing up for its World Tire Expo, the Tire Industry Association said it is still firmly committed to its retreader members.
Tom Raben, TIA president, told Tire Business that although TIA has a larger membership base in general, the association also gained some new retreaders from the former Tire Association of North America that weren't part of the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA). He said not much has changed in terms of how the newly formed TIA serves its retreader members.
``We're as involved as we ever were,'' Mr. Raben said, noting that TIA formed a retread council that holds regular conference calls and strengthened its government affairs efforts. Plus, former ITRA executive director Marvin Bozarth still is a technical consultant.
``We're going to represent the retread industry just as strongly or more strongly than we ever did,'' Mr. Raben said.
TIA will not be announcing any new programs specifically for retreaders during the Expo, March 27-29 in Louisville, but the group will hold many workshops of value to dealers, he said, and the group is still developing a public relations effort to boost the image of the overall tire industry, which will help retreaders.
One thing that is different from previous years is that TIA currently isn't holding any training on retreading at its Louisville center, and that's mostly due to a decline in demand, said Kevin Rohlwing, senior vice president of education and technical services. He said the association hasn't held retread training courses in Louisville for almost two years because there weren't enough registrants, so it canceled all scheduled classes in 2002.
With fewer retreaders today than only a few years ago and on-site training available from most retread process suppliers, the demand for training has significantly dropped, Mr. Rohlwing said. However, he added TIA isn't abandoning its retread equipment anytime soon.
``We're kind of waiting to see what will happen with the TREAD Act and all the new testing that's going to happen with tires before we make any long-term decisions on retread training,'' he said, noting the government could mandate third-party certification of retread plants.