Maine tire law revisited
I'm writing regarding the article, ``Maine tire law could have national effect,'' in the Oct. 25 Tire Business, and the subsequent editorial in your Nov. 8 issue, ``Tire replacement guidelines needed.''
After spending the week in Las Vegas at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show dealing with vendors, taking in seminars-including several with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Claude Harris-and speaking with industry people, I found your position on the Maine tire issue a lot more responsible than some statements made by a few industry people.
This Maine tire legislation-which simply states: ``A vehicle may be equipped only with tires that meet or exceed the load and speed rating of the original equipment (OE) tires''-was a result of a state police directive that only OE wheels and tires specified on the vehicle placard would be legal. Our association, the Maine Custom Auto Association (MCAA), asked Rep. Nancy E. Smith (D-Monmouth) to sponsor a bill (LD 737) to allow us to sell and install other than OE-only wheels and tires-for example, for plus-sizing applications.
Our association contacted more than 20 wheel and tire manufacturers plus the Tire Industry Association (TIA) about this bill, and only BBS of America Inc. had any interest.
On Jan. 29, 2003, when the ``Bill Draft Summary'' from the office of the ``Revisors of Statutes'' was printed (LR 1082), MCAA reviewed it and had some language removed. Due to the lack of interest from the industry we didn't feel there was a need to address the speed and load rating issue. Therefore, when some industry people stated that they didn't have a clue about the law, their statements have no traction.
Upon returning from SEMA I contacted Rep. Smith about this tire issue. I was informed that the state police, the MCAA, along with Rep. Smith and hopefully Dick Cole, executive director of the New England Tire & Service Association, will be addressing this issue with corrective language in the upcoming legislative session.
By having all of the stakeholders working together, this bill can be amended to satisfy most of us. We feel that Mr. Cole's goal of an industry set of standards is long overdue and a must. This bill (LD 737) was signed by Gov. John E. Baldacci on May 14, 2003, and become law on Sept. 13, 2003.
Our association is very safety oriented and tire dealer members of the MCAA are not opposed to this law. But they feel it has to be fine-tuned and then the motoring public needs to be informed about it.
The MCAA is actually a direct result of Maine's wheel and tire rules/regulations, as well as other enthusiast-related issues.
A little over two years ago it became evident to those of us in the performance/specialty equipment segment of the industry that several state agencies were taking action to shut down this market in Maine. As a matter of self-preservation, former competitors got together and formed the MCAA and became active in order to remain in business.
Unfortunately, we know of at least 16 businesses that closed their doors by the time all of our legislation became law. The success rate of getting a bill into law in this state is 26-28 percent. Three of our four bills became law. We removed the fourth bill-about vehicle lighting-at the request of the state police, with an agreement between them and the MCAA, directed by the Legislative Transportation Committee, to meet and work out the issues our lighting bill intended to accomplish.
To this day, this meeting still has not taken place. Therefore, one of our bills for this legislative session is going to be a comprehensive lighting bill. Our association membership is made up of tire dealers (two of which are the major players in Maine), custom exhaust shops, custom body shops, speed shops, wholesale distributors, retailers, restyling shops, tuner facilities and off-road outfitters in Maine.
If anyone doubts the value of belonging to SEMA, let me state unequivocally that without Steve McDonald, SEMA's vice president of government affairs, who helped us in this state, most of us would be out of business. In order to ensure our survival and profitability, we must all work together and be proactive in order to prevent excessive government regulation.
CFA Imported Parts
Editor's note: Mr. Simond also is legislative director of the Maine Custom Auto Association.
In regard to Dan Marinucci's Oct. 25 column about ``firing'' customers, this is how we handle it:
``Sir, I would like to have your business, but our techs won't work for you!'' We don't do it very often, but once in a while it does happen. You either have to make a customer out of him or her, or fire them.
I've been in business over 50 years, and I've fired a few.
Big 8 Tyre Center
I enjoyed Mary Miles' columns (Oct. 11 and 25) on the ``Anatomy of a wrongful termination lawsuit.''
Although we have never had to deal with a termination lawsuit, thankfully, it made me consider some of the ways we do things around here. We are a small independent dealership with two locations and 10 employees. We do have a company manual but have never had any job description for the employees. Basically it has been: ``This is what we want you to do.''
Can you provide me with some resources on how to write an accurate job description?
By the way, I had to chuckle when I read your ``warm and fuzzy'' comments about following the ``Golden Rule'' and treating others-including employees-as you want to be treated. We hope that we have always practiced that approach. In fact, many employees who have moved on over the years have become long-term customers!
Montvale Tire Co.
Editor's note: Mary Miles suggests checking out a comprehensive Web site-www.management-help.org/staffing/specify/job_desc/job_desc.htm-which provides examples of job descriptions and how to prepare them. The site, written by Carter McNamara for the Management Assistance Program for Nonprofits, also has related links to other sites that cover human resource issues.
A `newbie' likes TB
Being new in the tire industry, I would recommend Tire Business to anyone who recently joined the rubber tire world.
While this publication is geared toward tire distributors, some of us newbies can get a lot out of it. Please keep up the excellent work.
Southeast Regional Sales Manager
Patch Rubber Co.
Shame on the tire manufacturers. Thank you General Motors Corp. Let me explain.
I've just returned from the SEMA Show and the tire pressure monitors meeting held by the Wheel Industry Council.
I was the first from the audience to speak up, at which time I read my letter to the editor in the October 2002 issue of Tire Business.
I am not in support of tire pressure monitor systems (TPMS) mandated on cars.
Unfortunately, only about 40 people at best showed up for this important informational meeting on TPMS. The law mandating tire pressure monitor systems is going to cripple many in the wheel and tire business, and too few realize it.
And the tire makers don't care because it doesn't affect them directly. They will sell tires with or without you and me. If this legislation would have affected them in their pocketbooks, they would have spent millions in lobbying efforts to prevent it from getting this far.
Thank you GM for being on the TPMS committee. You have made it clear you will not accept responsibility for lawsuits involving aftermarket wheel installations (not approved by GM) by your dealers.
Yet you have put one of your leading engineers on this committee to assist us, the small independent tire dealer, in coping with this bad mistake consumer advocate groups have forced upon us.
Investigate it. Research it. Your liability insurance, equipment and training costs have just changed, and you didn't even realize it.
Pit Crew Tire Service Inc.
Palm Harbor, Fla.