The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) is rebranding itself, and its new name is more focused on what its members do — manufacture tires in the United States.
The national trade association for tire manufacturers will be known as the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA). The rebranding includes a new logo and website, as well as a focus on telling the story of tire manufacturers in the U.S., says the group’s CEO and President Anne Forristall Luke.
We have a new name! Rubber Manufacturers Association is now US Tire Manufacturers Association. pic.twitter.com/W0kW808g23— USTMA (@USTireAssoc) May 23, 2017
In an interview with Modern Tire Dealer, Forristall Luke, who took over as the organization’s leader on Jan. 1, 2016, says the time she’s spent familiarizing herself with the industry revealed that “it really is not as well known as it should be.“We began to think about how can we do a better job of telling the story of the tire manufacturing industry in the United States, its commitment to safety, its commitment to sustainability, its economic value creation in terms of the people it employs, the tremendous research and development it does, the safety through innovation it creates.”
Telling that story includes working under a banner that more accurately represents the group’s work. The RMA originally was established as the Rubber Club of America in 1915, and represented makers of all rubber products. Its focus on only tire manufacturers came later.
In its press release announcing the new name, the USTMA says the tire industry “will continue its significant contribution to the U.S. economy, job creation and engineering safe, sustainable tires.”
Highlighting the economy of the U.S. tire industry is an early focus, as the group has recently completed an economic impact study, which shows:
- The U.S. tire manufacturing industry is a $148.4 billion industry.
- U.S. tire manufacturers support more than 284,000 U.S. jobs through manufacturing, distribution and retailing, plus more than 450,000 additional U.S. jobs in supplier and induced activities.
And those numbers are all but certain to increase, given the construction and planned construction of new tire factories in the U.S. The USTMA currently represents 10 manufacturers, and four more companies (Hankook Tire America Corp., Giti Tire Co. Ltd., Qingdao Sentury Tire Co. Ltd. and Nokian Tires Inc.) are either building, or have announced plans to build plants.
“We think it’s a great story that tire manufacturing in the United States is growing. We already have 55 manufacturing-related facilities in 19 states,” Forristall Luke says. (Those facilities include tire cord and textiles, semi-finished products and tread rubber plants, retreading facilities, as well as tire manufacturers.) “When you look at those new plants, I’ve seen numbers of about $3.5 billion in investment and another 7,500 potentially new jobs. With the Nokian announcement, that’s the fifth new tire plant announced in the last few years, so it’s really an exciting and growing industry.
“Even though the membership is small, the growth is significant. The member companies want to belong to this association because they know it’s a hallmark of quality. They know the USTMA is going to be the leader in unifying the industry’s voice.”