AKRON (Sept. 10, 2007) — The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and Tire Industry Association (TIA) should be applauded for agreeing to meet to discuss concerns over the RMA's recently released Tire Information Service Bulletin on the selling of used tires.
TIA also deserves kudos for choosing not to go it alone in taking up the cause that has many of its tire dealer members in an uproar.
By agreeing to meet on this important issue, both associations are showing the type of leadership that's needed by the tire industry, especially in today's litigious environment.
Selling used tires is a topic that needs additional airing to clear up confusion in the marketplace and in tire dealers' service bays.
It's also a topic where the industry needs to speak as one voice, rather than have conflicting opinions.
In its service bulletin, the RMA lists 17 characteristics that should negate the sale, purchase or installation of a used tire. Two of them, in particular, have rankled tire dealers, including members of the California Tire Dealers Association—North.
One is that no used tire should be sold, purchased or installed that has had any punctures or penetrations, whether they've been repaired or not.
The other states that no tire should be purchased, sold or installed for “any other condition that would be cause for permanent removal from service.”
While the RMA's tire service bulletin is well intentioned and the industry can benefit from its guidelines, it also has cast doubt on tire repairing as a credible practice, even though many, if not all, of the RMA's own tire maker members have specific guidelines on how tires should be repaired.
There's little doubt this was not the intended purpose of the used tire service bulletin, which is why it needs to be reviewed and points of confusion addressed.
The RMA also needs to clarify what it means by “any other condition that would be cause for permanent removal from service.”
As one tire dealer put it, this “can be interpreted in any way you want, and honestly I have no clue what is being talked about.”
It's understandable TIA and RMA often have different views on tire industry topics. After all, the RMA's membership consists of tire manufacturers that make and sell new tires, while TIA's comprises mostly independent tire dealers who simply want to sell tires—new, used or retreaded. They look at things from different perspectives.
But when issues arise that impact members of both groups, it only makes good sense for the two to meet to review the details and iron out potential conflicts.
This is the type of leadership the tire industry—both dealers and manufacturers—needs from its associations.