It's the tail-end of another year of slogging tires and fixing cars for a living. What do you have to show for it? Hopefully, a healthy number of dollar signs in the profits column-enough to at least make one more boat payment.
If you think the tire industry's way too serious, then sit back, prop your feet up on your desk...whoa...not on that pile of invoices...and try your hand at the following quiz.
Get them all correct and you can vie for the naming rights to the next Super Swamp Rat Gumbo Terminator Mudder/Fodder off-road radial manufactured in China.
1. At least four tire makers ended their manufacturer-supported road hazard warranties in Canada on Jan. 1 because:
a. Global warming has rendered the Great White North a virtual tropical paradise where tires never go flat and every tire dealership has a profitable year.
b. Most retailers-particularly larger chains-offer road hazard warranties as add-ons anyway.
c. The use of rubberized asphalt throughout Canada has rendered road hazards nonexistent.
d. They're too cheap.
2. Convinced of the need for an industry checkoff program to fund consumer and technician education about the importance of tires, the Tire Industry Association rechristened the program:
a. TIRES-Tire Initiative for Research, Education and Safety.
b. RUBBER-guaranteeing dealers ``more bounce for your bucks.''
c. Because the slogan, ``Pork-the other white meat'' was already taken. And anyway, it makes no sense for tires.
d. BEEF-telling dealer members: ``Quite yer' beefin' and sell more tires.''
3. Becky MacDicken, director of government affairs for the Tire Industry Association, announced she's leaving TIA after a stint of 5½ years to:
a. Go to Nashville to be a country music recording artist.
b. Take over the business community outreach function of the newly created Office of Financial Education within the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.
c. Become a Wall Street broker.
d. Work as a rodeo rider in Harrisburg, Pa.
4. Michelin North America Inc. debuted an airless tire/wheel system the company claimed will revolutionize the tire industry. It's called:
d. Bib's Big Tire.
5. When Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. announced plans to buy an 11-percent stake in South Korean tire maker Kumho Tire Co. Inc., Cooper Chairman Thomas A. Dattilo said:
a. ``We wanted to do it before Goodyear did.''
b. He planned to take up kickboxing to impress Korean tire dealers.
c. South Korea's a nice place to vacation.
d. It was a ``wise investment for us as we begin the process of repositioning the company after the sale of Cooper-Standard Automotive.''
6. In response to some complaints about trade show booth models being too scantily clad, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA):
a. Said it would offer them coats because ``it gets real drafty in the SEMA Show hall.''
b. Issued a dress code for models working the 2005 SEMA show.
c. Apologized to Tire Retread Information Bureau Managing Director Harvey Brodsky and offered him a job as a booth model.
d. Hired Martha Stewart to design tasteful new non-offensive costumes.
7. A number of Tire Business readers reported their dealerships were:
a. Hit by credit card scams and supposed customers calling in tire orders from off-shore locations.
b. Switching their stores to floral shops because ``flowers are prettier than tires.''
c. Hit by meteorites.
d. Making money hand-over-fist and stuffing the profits into off-shore banks in the Cayman Islands.
8. Goodyear Chairman and CEO Robert Keegan told dealers at the company's 2005 Dealer Conference in Grapevine, Texas, that:
a. He'd ``heard it through the grapevine'' that the company was profitable.
b. The company will succeed if it puts the ``dead fish'' (problems) on the table.
c. Something smelled fishy.
d. Goodyear will win if it is market-focused, listens instead of talks and views its first job as building the dealer's business.
9. Tire makers and dealers reported a severe worldwide shortage of large off-the-road tires:
a. Because of unprecedented demand.
b.Because the mining industry has been hiding them underground in bat-filled caves.
c. Because they've been turned into road gator objets d'art.
d. And predicted the situation will continue for the foreseeable future.
10. Goodyear inked a deal with NASCAR to be the exclusive supplier of:
a. Richard Petty bobblehead dolls.
b. Tires for safety barriers around NASCAR tracks nationwide.
c. Tire-themed amusement parks that'll be called ``Good Ol' Boysland.''
d. Tires for the 2007 racing season.
11. Tire workers at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in New Castle, Pa.:
a. Were clunked in the head by falling prices.
b. Pasted those obnoxious yellow smiley faces on every tire they installed.
c. Voted down an effort to unionize the Tire and Lube Express department.
d. Buy their tires at a nearby independent tire dealership.
12. A survey conducted by the Tire Industry Association found that only half of the independent tire dealers it surveyed:
a. Recycle lead wheel weights.
b. Actually sell any tires in a given year.
c. Recycle scrap tires.
d. Know how to use computers.
13. Formula 1 racing's 2005 U.S. Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was home to what was called a fiasco when:
a. NASCAR fans picketed the event because promoters refused to sell SKOAL at concession stands.
b. Michelin's ``Bibendum'' mascot staggered onto the track and was nearly run over.
c. Seven two-car teams running on tires provided by Group Michelin withdrew on urging of the tire maker, which could not determine the cause of some tire failures in practice and qualifying runs.
d. Organizers couldn't find the checkered flag.
14. The new president/CEO of Denman Tire Corp. is:
a. ``Manny,'' of Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack fame.
b. A descendant of Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, who opened a small Matzo bakery in Cincinnati in 1888 and founded kosher food giant B. Manischewitz Co. L.L.C.
c. Manny Cicero, former president of Bridgestone/Firestone's off-the-road tire group.
d. Manny Ramirez, who promised to take the tire maker to the World Series.
15. Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. President Craig Anderson was a happy camper because:
a. After months of working out, he could boast he had the ``body of Hercules.''
b. After helping pilot a recapitalization plan for the company, he retired.
c. The company was purchased by FdG Associates L.L.C., a New York city-based private equity firm.
d. Unlike Superman, Hercules is unaffected by kryptonite.
16. He's a wheel fashionable guy, that hip-hop entrepreneur Sean Combs. His new joint venture with Weld Wheel Industries Inc. is:
a. A new custom wheel dubbed ``Puffy Performance.''
b. A line of aluminum wheels christened the ``Sean John Wheel.''
c. A marketing campaign, with Weld executives rapping about their way-out wheels.
d. A tres chic custom wheel line called ``Diddy Dubs.''
17. The revolving door for Continental Tire North America Inc. executives spun again, with Martien de Louw, the tire maker's president/CEO:
a. Leaving because someone repeatedly parked in his space at the company's headquarters.
b. Getting a call from Col-ee-forn-y-a Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, offering him a cabinet post and a promised role in an upcoming action adventure flick on crime-busting tire company executives.
c. Leaving as former chief exec Bernd Frangenberg decided to come out of retirement because he was bored.
d. Exiting ``due to differing views over the business strategy,'' the company said.
18. American Car Care Centers (ACCC) Inc. unveiled new perks for its legions of independent dealers, including:
a. A custom-framed, autographed portrait of ACCC President Len Lewin.
b. The option of adding another letter to the ``A-Triple-C'' acronym-if they behaved themselves.
c. The new American Platinum premium all-season radial.
d. A key to ACCC Marketing Director Dave Crawford's private tire stash.
19. Ford Motor Co.-followed closely by DaimlerChrysler A.G.-stirred up the tire-aging debate by issuing recommendations that:
a. From model year 2006 onward, tires have a six-year shelf life.
b. Tires on their vehicles be tossed after 20,000 miles.
c. Their chief executives personally test every OE tire-or forsake their bonuses.
d. Their car dealerships stop selling all those unprofitable cars and concentrate on tire sales.
20. The Tire Industry Association elected Tire Alliance Groupe chief exec Dan Beach:
a. Director of surfing.
c. Staff dietician.
d. None of the above.
21. Sumitomo Corp. of America pulled off a blockbuster deal, in the process acquiring:
a. Goodyear, Bridgestone/Firestone and BFS executive John Gamauf's yellow sports jacket.
b. The bragging rights as the nation's largest wholesaler.
c. TBC Corp., linking it with private brand marketer and wholesaler Treadways Corp.
d. Answers b. and c.
22. Bridgestone/Firestone launched a fall tire promotion promising consumers:
a. Free tires for life.
b. Four tires for $100.
c. A visit by Phil Pacsi, executive director, North American consumer tire marketing, to personally install the newly purchased tires on your vehicle.
d. An appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.
8. b. d.
9. a. d.
14. c. d.
18. b. c.