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Published on November 24, 2003

Joining TIA a good move by ACCC

There are a number of reasons to applaud the recent move by American Car Care Centers Inc. to join the Tire Industry Association.

For one, it was a smart business decision.

We say business decision because some might think ACCC did this simply as a benevolent gesture toward TIA, which has seen its membership rolls decline in recent years.

But ACCC didn't sign up its 1,100 member-dealer outlets for three years nor allocate the spending of more than $100,000 over the period just to be a good corporate citizen supportive of its industry's national trade group. It did so because TIA had something ACCC wanted: training.

Instead of trying to establish a training program of its own, ACCC chose to partner with TIA and take advantage of an existing program.

With budgets tight and the need to raise the level of knowledge and ability among tire service workers keen, this makes sense both economically and educationally.

At the same time, the decision to join the association provides a much-needed boost to TIA, which has been working hard to develop programs and services that will draw new members to the organization as well as retain those already enrolled.

What attracted ACCC to TIA was the association's newly developed Basic Automotive Tire Service (ATS) education program, which provides Web-based training for newly hired technicians. The course also is available on DVD and VHS and comes with a 200-page workbook. Next year, TIA will roll out a higher level certified ATS program for technicians along with a certified program for instructors.

``We looked at numerous options and considered developing a training program on our own,'' Len Lewin, ACCC president and COO, said in a press conference during the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo. ``We came to the conclusion that TIA offered the best overall solution.''

Along with upgrading the skills and knowledge of employees in ACCC member dealerships, Mr. Lewin rightly believes joining the association and taking advantage of the training supports TIA's efforts to begin changing the public's generally negative opinion about tires and the tire industry.

``The perception the consumer has of the tire industry and the way people perceive us is not what we'd like to see,'' Mr. Lewin said. ``We've got to stop talking about it and do something about it.''

Well, ACCC has stepped up to the plate. It's investing in its future and that of its members, while at the same time supporting the industry's efforts to change perceptions about tires.

That's a worthy combination-and one that other tire dealers and dealer groups should consider doing as well.

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