The value of the tire industry, Ms. Luke said, is symbolized in the investments tire makers make continually in research and technology, and in the billions of vehicle miles traveled every year by both private motorists and commercial drivers.
The rebranding stresses the value of the U.S. tire industry to the society at large, according to Ms. Luke.
"What it will do is help us to be a more influential advocate for our members," she said. "We had eight member companies when I started, now we have 10, and we will have 13 in the next 18 to 24 months."
New members include Sumitomo Rubber Industries Inc. and Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc.
In the current public policy situation, the rebranding will help to raise the tire industry's profile, according to Ms. Luke.
"U.S. tire manufacturers must strive to take a leadership role in public policy issues," she said. "By raising the industry's profile, we can be a more influential voice."
Between the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, many other new government officials haven't heard the tire industry's story, according to Ms. Luke.
The USTMA also has a role in teaching young drivers about the value of tires, she said. The new generation of motorists needs to know the contributions tire manufacturers make to sustainability, fuel economy and greenhouse gas reduction, she said.
General Motors Co.'s plan to create a sustainable natural rubber program, with the aid of its tire suppliers, is very much in line with what the USTMA is striving to accomplish, according to Ms. Luke.
Tire makers are deeply involved in the global efforts of the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-i), she said. The SNR-i is devoted to creating a global natural rubber economy that effectively addresses important issues such as sustainability, productivity, land use, water management and human and labor rights.
"We are telling the story of all the things in this industry that matter to stakeholders, now and in the future," Ms. Luke said. "It's not just telling the story of the industry as it is today, but positioning it for what it will be in the future."