By Stephen Downer, Special to Tire Business
MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Mexico's national association of tire dealers and retreaders has elected its first woman president.
Elizabeth Ventura Rendón, managing director of General Asociados SA de CV in Mexico City, a Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. dealer, replaced Raúl Castillo Arteaga at the Asociación Nacional de Distribuidores de Llantas y Plantas Renovadoras AC (Andellac) on Jan. 1. Mr. Castillo was president for four years.
Andellac members voted unanimously in October for Ms. Ventura, who will serve a two-year term. Mexico has 2,400 tire dealers, many of which belong to the association.
“I plan to continue the project started by Raúl and to add my experience,” Ms. Ventura told Tire Business in a brief interview Feb. 3. She has worked in the tire industry for 32 years and was treasurer in the previous Andellac administration.
In citing her goals, Ms. Ventura was referring to Mr. Castillo's efforts to impress on the association's members the importance of offering customers a professional service.
“Competition within the industry is very strong,” she said. “The way dealers can differentiate themselves from their competitors is by offering a better service.
“We have to talk to our people. I will concentrate on the human factor and on training.”
But she also said the association will continue to lobby the federal government on the issue of cheap, duty-free tires entering the country from Asia, undercutting the price of tires made in Mexico. “There's no protection,” she said, adding that sales for the sector she represents fell in 2015 in relation to the previous year as a result of the problem. Mexico has nine tire production plants.
Andellac was still collating the figures in early February.
In one of his last acts as president, Mr. Castillo complained in a Spanish-language article for Mexican magazine Automotores about tire imports that are sold in Mexico below the cost of production.
“It's a clear case of protectionism by the governments of the nations where they're made. They are severely damaging the tire manufacturing companies and dealers formally established in Mexico that contribute substantially to the economy by paying their taxes, complying with norms and creating jobs.”
Ms. Ventura told Tire Business that the problem, which started a decade ago, is getting worse. Sixty percent of the national market for commercial vehicle tires — from 20-inch-diameter tires and up — was dominated by cheap Asian imports, she said, adding that the national market for passenger vehicles also is starting to be hit.
Stephen Downer is a Mexico-based freelance writer who covers that country and Latin America for Tire Business and its Latin America e-newsletter.