The Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo marked its 10-year anniversary in 2019. About 2,500 visitors from 64 countries attended this year’s event in Panama.
Gustavo (Gus) Lima, CEO of Latin Expo Group, says the show has become the leading event for suppliers and manufacturers to connect with tire distributors and dealers from Mexico, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean regions (LATAM).
The 2019 show took place June 26-28 in the Atlapa Convention Center. Modern Tire Dealer sat down with Lima for a look at how the show came to be and the need it is meeting in today's marketplace.
MTD: What was the original reason for launching the show?
Lima: I was in China at the time that the Obama administration implemented the antidumping duties for Chinese tires for the US market. Chinese manufacturers got very interested in LATAM. I immediately thought of establishing the event to get the Chinese close to LATAM and get the LATAM tire dealers close to the Chinese. Of course, we intend to get all manufacturers from all the globe to come to the show and participate, but the idea came from the need that was created by the economic circumstances of the period.
MTD: What have been the biggest changes in the show over the past 10 years?
Lima: We have evolved the show not just into a commercial event, but we have incorporated the Latin culture into the event with presentations that make it a fun place to meet.
MTD: What is the main purpose for holding the show?
Lima: Trade, personal contact, learning about new cultures, human cultural and international interactions, and making money.
MTD: What, if anything, can be done to attract the tier one tire companies to exhibit?
Lima: I feel that as the market share of brands from Asia increases in LATAM that first tier manufacturers will get interested in presenting their brands to events like ours. Many first-tier manufacturers hold their captive events as part of their marketing programs. In business, we always need to add new accounts to our base; these events provide an opportunity to reach up and coming companies. First tier companies do not have to make an expensive statement at the events, just show up and talk to a possible new account that may be ready to step up their game.
MTD: What is the funniest moment that you remember – and can say in public – that has happened at the show?
Lima: A dear friend from Mexico made a spicy joke (as he always does) at the technical conference presentations in Spanish, the translation team was an older married couple, the wife (not amused) told her husband that she would not translate the joke and wanted to walk out. The husband took over that translation and had a good laugh. (I am not aware if they are still together, and I always remember the joke!)
More coverage of the 2019 Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo will be in the August issue of Modern Tire Dealer.