AKRON (Nov. 6, 2006) — With the tire industry becoming more global by the year, now is an ideal time for the Tire Industry Association (TIA) to have elected its first international president.
In Paul Hyatt, owner of Scarborough, Ontario-based Superior Tire & Auto Inc., the association's membership has tapped a seasoned tire dealer who understands the issues facing independent tire retailers in North America.
He can be expected to keep the association on track as it strives to develop programs and take political positions that TIA's primarily independent tire dealer membership will value.
This includes his emphasis on the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act, which is as much an issue in Canada as it is in the U.S.
Passage of Right to Repair legislation—in both countries—would guarantee independent repair shops access to crucial information and equipment needed to repair all vehicles entering their service bays. It assures that consumers will have a choice of service shops when it comes to repairing their vehicles—not just the car makers' dealership service departments.
Mr. Hyatt feels so strongly about this topic that he created his own Web site in Canada to inform Canadian vehicle owners on the issue, urging them to contact their national representatives and to sign an online petition in favor of Right to Repair.
But as a Canadian and the first non-American to head up Bowie, Md.-based TIA, Mr. Hyatt also brings to the office a keen appreciation for the role the trade association can play on a worldwide basis and why doing so is important.
Already TIA has members from more than 65 countries on its roster. Mr. Hyatt wants to see that international membership grow, particularly in Mexico.
As that happens, TIA logically will need to focus more attention on its global membership not only because there are more members outside of North America but because, as he puts it, “My needs are the same as the fellow in France. We still have the same problem whether it's government regulations or whether it's marketing.”
Expanding TIA's scope beyond North American borders to the rest of the world will open the lines of communication with tire dealers everywhere. And better knowledge of what's happening with dealers around the world will only help TIA define what's important to its dealer members.
As a leader in developing training materials for dealers, TIA also can make an impact on the professionalism and safety of tire dealers worldwide by extending its reach to other countries. Already the association is translating its training videos into French and Spanish.
In Paul Hyatt, TIA has elected a veteran who's not only passionate about the independent tire dealer but also understands the value of broadening the association's global scope. The association is stronger for it.