This issue of Tire Business focuses on innovation within the industry, from technology that refines "smart" tire technology and improves fleet performance, to more "efficient" tires, to the advancement of electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles.
Innovation, however, isn't just confined to the products our industry produces.
It also carries over to the humanitarian aspect of an industry that prides itself on giving back to its community.
In this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when some charities are struggling for donations while others seem to be thriving, the tire business is doing its part to continue to help others.
And in almost every case, it has put its innovation skills to use.
RNR Tire Express franchisee Rental Concepts L.L.C., for example, had to postpone its annual Mother's Day car giveaway, with the pandemic still in its early stages.
So franchise owner David Harrison and his Rental Concepts team innovated.
They moved the car giveaway to October, tying it to Breast Cancer Awareness month. Rental Concepts sought nominations for its "You're A Rockstar New Car Giveaway" through various media channels. More than 1,000 breast cancer patients and survivors were nominated this year.
On Nov. 7, Rental Concepts, in partnership with Nexen Tire America Inc., presented Carrie Hodge, a mother, teacher and breast cancer survivor, with a 2020 Buick Encore fitted with Nexen tires.
Goodyear, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Icahn Automotive's Pep Boys business are all helping the Marine Corps' annual Toys for Tots toy collection drive in various ways.
"So much has changed this year in our communities, and it's critical that we continue to find ways to support them through safe and unique experiences like this," Laura Duda, Goodyear's senior vice president and chief communications officer, said.
Cooper Tire, through its Cooper Foundation, is donating cash along with 10,000 miniature cars, trucks and other vehicles and said it will double every $1 donated to the program by its employees.
Cooper also will collect toys at its offices, plants and technical centers in the U.S., giving employees the chance to donate directly.
"This holiday season will look and feel different for many families this year, and the need for assistance will be significant," Chris Ball, Cooper Tire President − Americas, said. "We believe everyone deserves to travel life's journeys with confidence."
Pep Boys has Toys for Tots collection bins in nearly 1,000 locations; toy donors will earn a 25% discount on floor merchandise and/or service purchases.
Several Midas International L.L.C. franchisees continue to support charities, including Midas of Grafton (Wis.), which hosted a food collection event in late November, inviting children and their families to visit Santa while the dealership was "repairing" his sleigh.
To maintain social distancing, families remained in their vehicles and were asked to write each child's name on paper to show Santa. The sleigh was wired with a listening device so Santa could talk to each child from about 10 feet.
Talk about being innovative.
The tire industry always has been a beacon of community giving and outreach. You need only to review any of the 27 winners of the Tire Business Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award to realize that.
This year's winner, Rodrigo Valle Hernandez of Grupo Tersa in Tijuana, innovated quite nicely earlier this fall. With the pandemic raging in Mexico, his Valle Bibb Foundation combined a virtual event with an in-person event to raise money for several charities.
The foundation hired a pop singer to hold a virtual concert. All those who bought tickets to the event received a gift basket filled with items native to that region of Mexico. The event sold out and the charities received the money, the pandemic be damned.
Innovation isn't just a buzz word in the tire industry. It's a way of doing business.