Tire dealer associations seem to be dwindling in importance in recent yearssome have simply closed up shop, some are struggling to grow membership while others have remained active by merging with other trade groups.
But trade associations still have a purpose and an important role in defending the business interests of independent tire dealers and auto service shop operators. It's the time-honored practice of solidarity.
A group of dealers can accomplish more than any individual can, especially when it comes to dealing with the government.
Some tire dealers may not see the benefit of membership in a trade association. Many of the discounts and benefits those groups offer in the way of insurance, credit cards, uniforms, training, etc., are offered by some marketing groups and distributor programs.
Still, these companies rarely get into the fray of protesting a controversial bill before a state or federal legislatureone of the biggest benefits of a trade association.
National and state associations are tasked with defending tire dealers' interests on the federal and state government levels, keeping a watchful eye on the multitude of bills introduced that could inadvertently harm small businesses.
Case in pointin Tire Business' current issue, we have stories on:
c The Auto Care Association and the Tire Industry Association (TIA) backing a bill in Connecticut that mandates new vehicle dealers must present new car buyers with a printed explanation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which states it is illegal for auto makers or dealers to void a warranty or deny warranty coverage because someone other than the car dealer performed a service or repair and/or used aftermarket parts.
c In Michigan the Automotive Service Association is backing a senate bill that would forbid insurers from specifying which parts vendors an auto repairer can use when repairing a client's vehicle; and
c TIA is vowing to fight to the end legislation in Congress that could bring back mandatory tire registrationto the detriment of independent tire dealers.
These are just a few examples of how important trade associations still are.
And that's why tire dealers and auto repairers should support trade associations both passively, by registering as a dues-paying member, and actively, by writing letters and speaking to legislators and voicing opinions and concerns to the association management.