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2014 SEMA Show coverage

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2014 SEMA Show coverage

Cab drivers in Las Vegas were told to be ready for 140,000 visitors during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week. That estimate proved to be too low.

More than 145,000 people attended the recent SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show and AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo), a 5% increase over 2013.

The number of buyers increased 4%, to 61,510. International buyers represented a quarter of that.

The total number of exhibiting companies at the SEMA Show, which includes 263 exhibitors at the Global Tire Expo (GTE) — Powered by TIA, the Tire Industry Association, was 2,379.

“While we are pleased to see a growth in participation at the show, we are even more pleased with the feedback that we are getting from both exhibitors and attendees,” reported Della Domingo, SEMA’s public relations director.

“Our goal is and has always been to provide the industry and participants with the best place to do business. In other words, we strive to provide the best quality trade show, rather than the largest.

“Based on the feedback we received, we believe that we have accomplished this goal and will continue to focus on this effort.”

Live from the show

Live from the 2014 SEMA Show, it’s — Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc.! Once again, Nitto featured its “Live from SEMA” wall-to-wall coverage of the event that ties marketing and social media together.

The “Live from SEMA” service is an innovative channel to deliver news to the audience outside the convention center walls, according to SEMA CEO and President Chris Kersting.

Users at the SEMA Show were able to access the enhanced “Live from SEMA” website (www.livefromSEMA.com) to search using hashtags for uploaded photos and video by social media type, product or brand. That includes Nitto’s Facebook page, which has more than 11.6 million “likes.”

In addition, content uploaded to the website each show day was organized into the site’s “Articles” section, thus enabling easy browsing by users based on time sequence.

“Nitto Tire is a company that is proud of its direct connection to its enthusiast fans,” said Stephen Leu, assistant brand publishing manager. “That is why we are so proud to help deliver coverage of the world’s largest trade show straight to enthusiasts through social media and traditional media.”

The Nitto booth also was filled with new Nitto tires, including the Exo Grappler AWT, an all-weather pickup truck and SUV tire; and the Terra Grappler G2, the next-generation Terra Grappler all-terrain tire.

The Nitto Grappler series features highly aesthetic tire treads and dual sidewall designs.

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Alliance in the U.S.

In his first SEMA Show as Alliance Tire Americas Inc. president, Jim Clark outlined the company’s plans for 2015. Perhaps the most aggressive move is the opening of a 70,000-square-foot warehouse in Southern California by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

The warehouse, the company’s fourth, will service customers from Denver to the West Coast. Alliance has warehouses in Houston (130,000 square feet), Memphis (a little over 200,000 square feet) and Parkesburg, Pa. (70,000 square feet).

“The West Coast is our least penetrated area,” said Clark. When the Southern California warehouse is up and running, Alliance will be able to ship tires within two days anywhere in the United States. “And this will not be our last warehouse.”

At the Alliance Tire Group booth, the new Alliance 396 high-speed flotation tire was on display.

The application-specific flotation tire is built for high speed (up to 62 mph). It features all-steel construction and an aggressive tread pattern; its sharp highly curved lugs and central blocks are designed to provide the traction and self-cleaning characteristics of an off-road lug tire.

The 396 is available in two sizes: 445/65R22.5 and 600/50R22.5.

Alliance also introduced the Galaxy Beefy Baby SDA, the first solid tire in the Beefy Baby skid steer line. It is available in two sizes: 31x10-20 and 33x12-20.

“We’re developing new SKUs at a fast clip,” added Barry Clifford, marketing programs and communication manager.

New tires from Sentury

Sentury Tire Americas’ new Delinte DX10 A/T on – and off-road tire is available in 10 LT sizes. They range from 15 inches to 18 inches as follows:

15-inch: 31x10.5R15LT 109S.

16-inch: LT235/85R16 120/116Q, LT225/75R16 115/112Q, LT265/75R16 123/120Q, LT285/75R16 126/123Q, LT235/70R16 110/107Q and LT265/70R16 121/118Q.

17-inch: LT265/70R17 121/118Q and LT285/70R17 121/118Q.

18-inch: LT275/65R18 123/120R or S.

Other new Delinte brand tires displayed on the trade show floor were the DH7, an all-season highway crossover and SUV; the DV2, a commercial van tire; and the D9 Mud Terrain radial light truck tire.

A new size in the D7 all-season performance tire line, 305/25R22, was displayed on the rear of a concept 2015 Jaguar F-Type.

Two Landsail brand tires, the LSV88 commercial van tire and CLV2 all-season highway crossover and SUV tire, also were introduced.

Maxwell Wee, director of sales, said the company is offering products in more segments than ever before.

“We want to offer complete sizes and ranges to the end user so everybody has more choices.”

Run-flat versions of the Landsail LS388 and LS588 are good examples of this. “The Run Flat Tire Series offers an extra element of driver safety and convenience, with added technology like reinforced sidewalls, a heat-resistant tire bead compound, and a wider tire bead,” said Wee. “As more vehicles are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems, we felt it was important to add run-flat tires for a full range of tire types, including passenger touring tires, performance tires, and ultra-high performance tires.”

The tires will be rolled out in 16- and 17-inch sizes before the end of the year.

A new rally racing tire will be introduced in the first quarter of 2015, added Wee. It will be available in size 245/80R16.

Lanny Lin, president of Qingdao Sentury Tire Co. Ltd., says construction on phase one of the company’s tire plant in Thailand should be completed by the second quarter of next year. Located 100 miles outside of Bangkok, the plant is expected to have a capacity of 5 million tires annually.

When the second phase is completed, the Thailand facility will be able to produce 10 million tires annually.

Qingdao Sentury also has a factory in China that can produce 15 million tires a year. Part of the plant is highly automated, according to Lin.

Red Kap clothing

Attendees who walked anywhere on the 1,127,999 net square feet of SEMA Show floor space on the last day of the show may have seen more than one person wearing a SEMA collector’s edition Red Kap work shirt. They were handed out free to the first 500 people in line at the Red Kap booth.

Red Kap, a company focused on developing performance apparel for the automotive industry, was a SEMA Show exhibitor for the fifth consecutive year.

“Our differentiator is we work with technicians to have the apparel designed properly,” said Leslie Hunt, marketing manager. For example, the Red Kap crew shirt features a flap that covers the buttons so they don’t scratch the paint when a technician is working on a vehicle. The crew shirt is constructed with an industrial laundry-friendly “Ripstop” fabric.

Red Kap, a division of VF Imagewear Inc., also promoted its Bottom Line Benefits Program, which ties a professional image and employee engagement to increased profits.

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POS materials from Falken

Falken Tire Corp. executives shared details of the company’s new marketing strategy with dealers at the company’s new showroom-style exhibit.

“Falken has successfully made a name for itself with enthusiasts, and now is focusing on bringing its race-proven technology and quality tire messages to a wider market,” said Rick Brennan, executive director of marketing. “Our goal is to be the go-to brand for value-focused tire buyers who don’t want to sacrifice performance for price.”

The first step in Falken’s new strategy will focus on raising awareness of the Falken brand among tire shoppers visiting one of the company’s more than 5,500 North American dealers. New retail tools include point-of-sale (POS) materials that call out Falken’s brand strengths, including its performance heritage.

“For 2015, our main focus is going to be improving our support for the dealer programs,” said Brennan.

Falken recently opened a new distribution center (DC) in Joliet, Ill., that will service tire dealers in the Chicago area, across the Midwest and into central Canada. It is the second DC Falken has opened since August; the other opened in Robbinsville, N.J.

Vee Vitron ZR

Vee Rubber America Inc. displayed the new Vitron ZR ultra-high performance tire at its GTE booth. It also teased attendees with a crossover tire still in development.

The Vitron ZR UHP tire is an extension of the T-, H- and V-rated Vitron all-season high performance tire, with larger, wider blocks for better dry handling. It is engineered with the company’s Dual-Nature Technology.

The outside of the tire is designed for optimum cornering performance under dry conditions. The inside of the tire is optimized for wet climate performance.

Patrick Hyland, sales and marketing manager, said the goal of the Thailand-based parent company, Vee Rubber Corp. Ltd., was to design a UHP tire that also gave the driver a comfortable, quiet ride.

“The UHP development is a focus of ours right now,” he added.

Vee Rubber also displayed the Vitron Cross, a crossover tire that also fits SUVs. It has five circumferential grooves for maximum water evacuation and wet traction, and a ribbed center groove for added traction in dirt, mud and snow.

Although the size complement has yet to be completed, Hyland said 255/65R18, a popular size on vehicles like the Chevy Traverse and Saturn Outlook, is one of them.

Nexen and Next Level

Nexen Tire America Inc. chose the first day of the SEMA Show to launch its associate dealer program: Next Level.

The program was designed to create loyalty between dealers and distributors, according to Kyle Roberts, director of marketing. Approved Nexen tire retailers who purchase tires through an authorized program distributor will be eligible to join the program beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

Dealers must purchase a minimum of 400 Nexen tires in a calendar year to qualify for cash-back rewards and volume bonuses. Reward payouts are contingent on maintaining a minimum 100 units purchased per-quarter average, although there is a catch-up policy.

Up to 20% of a dealer’s Nexen program purchases can be made by a secondary authorized Next Level distributor.

Dealers with multiple locations can combine purchases to reach higher tiers. Roberts said a dealer who earns all the rewards offered under Next Level can, with the program’s cash payouts, save up to $10 per high performance tire purchased, and up to $8 on every other tire purchased.

Also as part of the program, random prize drawings will be held at the end of every quarter. The Grand Prize winner will win a trip and a minimum of $75,000 — with the chance to win $1 million. First prize is the choice between a new truck, valued at close to $45,000, or $30,000.

Nexen will randomly select an additional 750 winners per quarter (3,000 for the year) to receive prizes between $250 and $500. To sign up for the program, Nexen dealers must first contact their primary distributors. Then they must fill out a form to see if they are eligible.

Timberland tires

The partnership between Omni United (S) Pte. Ltd. and Timberland LLC was a hot topic at the show. One of the top tire dealers in the country personally commended Omni CEO G.S. Sareen on the idea and its marketing potential.

In Sareen’s own words, the co-branded Timberland line of tires is “the first tire brand developed in partnership with a leading global lifestyle brand, positioned at the premium end of the market.”

Crumb rubber from recycled Timberland tires will be used in the manufacture of Timberland footwear. Engineers from both companies developed the outsoles; there were restrictions on the materials that could be used, according to Stewart Whitney, president of Timberland.

He said Timberland had three objectives that needed to be met before the partnership with Omni United could move forward.

  1. The Timberland footwear with recycled rubber needed to deliver the same level of performance as in the past.
  2. The co-branding had to be delivered in a stylish manner “because we’re in a fashion industry.”
  3. The results had to be eco-friendly. “We’re an outdoor brand. Our logo is a tree. Without the outdoors, there’s no need for a brand like Timberland.”

Whitney said the company is always looking for sustainable sources of supply for its materials, and has used recycled rubber from tires for its outsoles in the past.

The tires, manufactured by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., will be stamped Timberland by Radar (Omni United does the same at Sears Auto Centers with the Guardsman by Radar).

The first Timberland tire will be the Timberland Cross, a premium broad market tire designed for crossover utility vehicles such as the Acura MDX, Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape, GM Envoy, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4. It will be available in April 2015 in 21 outline white letter (OWL) and blackwall sizes.

Another 14 sizes will be available in September 2015. Sareen says the complete size complement will provide 82% coverage of the P-metric CUV tire market.

Omni United’s suggested retail pricing will range from $145 on size 215/70R16 100T to $257 on the 255/50R19 XL 107H.

On the heels of the Timberland Cross, Omni United will introduce the Timberland A/T. The tire is designed “to provide pickup, Jeep and SUV owners off-road capabilities with a rugged look — without sacrificing on-road manners.” Vehicle fitments include the Chevy Silverado and Suburban; Ford Explorer and F-series; Jeep Wrangler; Dodge Ram 1500; and Toyota Tundra.

The company will launch the Timberland A/T in 14 P-metric and LT sizes in July 2015. (The Omni booth showcased size 275/55R20 Timberland A/T tires on a customized 2015 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport.) Four of the five LT sizes will be Load Range E sizes; the other will be a Load Range C size (31x10.50R15LT 109R).

Another 16 Timberland A/T sizes will be available in March 2016, including eight more Load Range E sizes. Omni United says its suggested retail pricing on the A/T will range from $125 on the 235/75R15 105T OWL size to $299 on the LT275/65R20126/123S blackwall size.

A third line, the Timberland Tour, will be launched in 2016 in at least 25 sizes.

(For an in-depth look at the launch of Timberland tires, including interviews with Omni United’s Sareen and John Soule, vice president of global marketing and licensed brands, check out “Tires as a lifestyle choice” in MTD’s November issue.)

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True Tire Value from Aeolus

Aeolus Tyre Co. Ltd. not only introduced a tool that correlates quality and price to quantify value, but also offered demonstrations.

“There is a misconception of the term ‘value’ in the marketplace,” said Mike Leverington, general manager, United States. “Price is not the same thing as value.

“Value is the relationship between quality and price. Simply put, how much do you really get for your money? Consumers deserve to know what they are getting for their hard-earned money, and our True Tire Value (TTV) tool does just that.”

With a simple mathematical equation, True Tire Value is calculated by dividing a tire’s quality score by its retail price. The quality score is based upon Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) standards, set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The prices are actual retail pricing from leading tire retailers.

The True Tire Value model allows users to compare high performance, ultra-high performance and standard touring all-season tires head-to-head against one another. A TTV score is assigned to each tire the user selects. The tires are then sorted by TTV score, with the highest value tire rising to the top.

“True Tire Value proves that top quality doesn’t always come with a big price tag,” said Leverington. “Our goal is to provide a tool to the industry, and to the consumer, which helps them to make the best tire buying decision possible.”

M/T tires and wheels

Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels (Max-Trac Tire Co. Inc.) introduced a number of new M/T and Dick Cepek light truck tires and wheels.

The M/T Metal series is designed for late model off-road vehicles such as the Toyota Tundra, Chevy Silverado, Ford F-series, Dodge Ram and Jeep. It consists of four alloy wheels available in flat and piano black finishes. The size range will be from 17x9 to 20x9, depending on the model. The company plans to launch several new wheels next March.

The company is also planning two new tire line launches next year. The Dick Cepek Extreme Country mud terrain tire will debut in May in 21 different sizes, ranging from 15- to 20-inches.

In June, the company will launch the Mickey Thompson Baja MTZP3 mud terrain tires. It will come in 22 different 15- to 20-inch sizes.

Autopromotec 2015

Five of Italy’s largest automotive equipment manufacturers joined Autopromotec 2015 and AICA (Italian Garage Equipment Manufacturers Association) at the 2014 SEMA Show. They had two purposes: showcase Italy’s prowess in the automotive product industry, and promote the next Autopromotec, to be held in Bologna, Italy, May 20-24, 2015.

Autopromotec 2015 promises some special side shows, including a section dedicated to commercial and industrial vehicle equipment. Details about the event are available online at www.autopromotec.com.

Autopromotec 2013 was the largest trade show in Europe, with 1,514 exhibitors from 51 countries. Attendance at the 2013 show was the largest ever.

Centennial Terra Trooper A/T

Greenball Corp. introduced an all-terrain tire, plus additional sizes for two lines. The new Centennial Terra Trooper A/T for on- and off-road use will be available in 12 sizes in the second quarter of 2015.

Greenball added three sizes to the Kanati Trail Hog LT tire to make it available in 14 sizes. The new sizes are: LT245/70R17, LT285/60R20, and LT325/60R20. An additional six to eight sizes for 35-inch through 37-inch fitments are coming in 2015.

Greenball also had a GBC Dirt Commander utility vehicle tire in its newest size, 30x10.00-14, on display. Greenball says two more sizes will be added in January. Triangle in North America

Triangle Tyre Group Co. Ltd. revealed two tires for the North American market: the Sportex for the UHP segment and the Protract for the value segment. The tires will debut in mid-2015.

The Sportex will be available in 33 sizes to cover the UHP range from 16- to 24-inch rims, 55 to 35 aspect ratios and W to Y speed ratings. The Sportex will replace the TR968 tire.

The Protract will be available in 33 sizes for 13- to 17-inch rims, 70 to 50 aspect ratios and T to V speed ratings. The Protract will replace the TR928 tire.

Triangle, which is based in Shanghai, China, said it will support the products with a new branding system and marketing programs. Replacing the current numbering system with product names for passenger, SUV and light truck tires will improve clarity in product line-ups, provide consistency in sub brand names and reinforce Triangle’s brand equity across all markets, according to the company. The new tires are part of the company’s strategy to achieve worldwide brand recognition.

Triangle also said its A3T technical center in Akron, Ohio, will lead product development in the North American and European markets. The company has invested $6.3 million in the center, which has a staff of 17, and plans to increase the center’s technical capabilities.

The company also announced its majority stake in Triangle Tire North America LLC, a joint venture company established to distribute Triangle tires in North America.

Triangle Tyre Group’s partner in the joint venture is Miami-based Oriente Triangle Latin America Inc., which distributes Triangle tires in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Gustavo Lima, CEO of Oriente Triangle, will lead the new company.

Hennessy adds three tire changers

Hennessy Industries Inc. expanded its Coats X-Series line of tire changers, added a tilt-back tire changer and introduced an entry-level machine.

The new 90X tire changer has a right side stationery assist device that can be retrofitted to other X-Series machines already in use.

“You can turn a 70X into a 90X,” said Kevin Keefe, vice president of marketing.

The stationery powered-assist device keeps the tire in drop center during the mount process. The 90X will be available late in the first quarter of 2015.

Hennessy also introduced a swing arm tire changer built off the X-Series chassis. The GTS 70 has comparable features and capability to X-Series tire changers. The difference is its tilt-back feature, which some customers prefer, according to Keefe.

The GTS 70 model has a stationery bead assist that can loosen both the top bead and re-loosen a stuck bottom bead.

The disk can be adjusted to work effectively with high aspect “floppy” sidewalls. The GTS 70 will be available late in the first quarter of 2015.

The Coats 5030 and 5040 models have been replaced by the RC 55, an entry-level rim clamping tire changer. “The RC 55 is a rugged, durable and capable changer for a general repair shop or a second-bay machine in a tire store,” said Keefe.

Available in the first quarter of 2015, the RC 55 tire changer has an optional power articulating bead assist for servicing run-flats and low profile tires that are now commonplace in OE applications.

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Zero-gravity pneumatics!

Rav America, the U.S. division of Ravaglioli SpA of Italy, displayed its redesigned G7 series balancers. New features include a zero-gravity pneumatic wheel lift that enables technicians to control the tire with one hand, according to Chad Triptow, account manager.

In addition, the tire is positioned on a pneumatic shaft which can be operated by a foot pedal or by a touch-screen monitor. Triptow said tires can be match mounted to reduce ride vibration. Another new feature is laser-guided wheel weight positioning, which pinpoints the exact placement of wheel weights.

Two new Cemb tire changers

The new SM955 from Cemb USA/BL-Systems Inc. is a tilt-back tire changer with a two-speed motor. A leverless tool enables the machine to service standard as well as low profile and UHP tires, says Bob Gibson, special projects manager.

Adjusting the tool to leverless mode allows the machine to operate on UHP super-low profile and run-flat tires. In standard mode, the machine operates by a traditional mounting head on soft shoulder high profile tires and light truck tires. The company calls the feature the “Dual Fit” system.

The 955 model also has a “smart” bead breaker, which gives more control when breaking the bead, according to Gibson. The tire changer requires a 220-volt power supply.

The Matic750 leverless tire changer is a center post dual bead breaker that can accommodate up to 34-inch size tires. The 750 model also features the company’s Dual Fit system for servicing UHP, run-flat and standard tires on a single machine.

Cemb USA/BL, based in Gainesville, Ga., is the U.S. division of Cemb SpA of Italy.

The tire, not the super hero

Hercules Tire’s Ironman All Country M/T was designed to deliver outstanding off-road traction in the most adverse conditions and excellent durability in extended off-road use, according to the company.

“We’ve been building the Ironman brand line-up over the past few years,” said Joshua Simpson, vice president of marketing. “Our customers were very adamant about adding a true off-road product line.

“We expect this line to do well with both the serious off-road enthusiast and the casual enthusiast, who are looking for great performance and cosmetic appeal at an affordable position.” The Ironman All Country M/T features a number of performance attributes.

A groove design enhances durability by protecting against stone drilling and punctures.

Shoulder blocks easily shovel away mud, silt and sand and provide side-biting traction on off-road surfaces.

The staggered buttress design increases off-road capability and guards against high sidewall cuts and abrasions.

The void ratio effectively promotes self-cleaning capability in muddy conditions.

The tire is available in 16 sizes with 15- to 20-inch rim diameters. In addition, a studdable tread delivers extra “bite” in severe weather applications, and select sizes have a three-ply sidewall to protect against cutting and tearing in off-road situations.

Bosch adds two tire changers

Robert Bosch LLC has added tilt-back and swing-arm styles to its tire changer line. The company introduced the TCE 4275 swing arm and TCE 4475 tilt back models.

The new machines accommodate larger tires than earlier models. Both tire changers have 28-inch external clamping capacity and 30-inch internal clamping capacity.

The new tire changers run on 110-volt power, providing the same features as competing machines requiring a 220-volt electrical supply, according to the company. A standard “moto-inverter” and two-speed (7 and 15 rpm) turntable improves productivity when servicing the toughest wheel and tire combinations at the most competitive price point in the market.

“There’s a huge gap in the market for a 110-volt tire changer that does everything the 220-volt machines do, but at a much better price,” said Debo Sadare, Bosch Automotive Service Solutions product manager.

“All the standard equipment and features combined with the lower voltage means a greater value for the shop owner and a reliable, easy-to-operate machine for the technician.”

In addition to increased rigidity and a larger turntable, the TCE 4275 and TCE 4475 tire changers each have 28-inch external and 30-inch internal clamping capacity with a locking jaw cross system and perfectly balanced, opposed cylinder system; a four-position bead breaker that is 40% faster than previous versions; and a helper arm that is standard on the TCE 4475 and available on the TCE 4275 depending on configuration.

For easier operation, a technician can engage and disengage the bead breaker by tilting a hand lever instead of pressing a foot pedal. The company says both machines will change nearly any car, light commercial vehicle and motorcycle (with special accessory kit) tire.

Hunter’s ‘drive-over’ system

Hunter Equipment Co. displayed the flush-mount configuration of its Quick Tread drive-over tread depth measuring system for the first time ever at the SEMA Show. The system also is available in a surface-mounted unit, which Hunter previewed at the National Automotive Dealer Association show in February 2014. Both configurations will be available early in 2015.

The Quick Tread system can stand alone or be integrated with a new or existing Hunter Quick Check system, which performs a vehicle inspection in less than three minutes. The company said the Quick Tread system uses “point cloud technology” to measure 280,000 data points on a tire. The system prints three-dimensional models of the tread depth for dealers to share with their customers.

Hunter’s exhibit included a wheel lift operated by a foot pedal for wheel balancers. The foot pedal feature is new to the wheel lift, which is optional for all Hunter wheel balancers. The lift has a low-profile, scissor design to increase ease-of-use and reduce technician wear and tear, said Hunter. The wheel lift drops out of the operator’s way as balancing begins.

Hunter also displayed its QuickComp on-car brake lathe, which is now made in the U.S. The lathe features a two-way adjustable compensation adaptor that works with Hunter’s ProComp computerized compensation to adjust for lateral runout of the hub in seconds. This feature allows rotors to be refinished to OEM specifications in minutes.

Tire Profile’s mobile option

Tire Profiles Inc.’s Groove Glove, a handheld laser measurement system for determining tread depth, allows technicians to quickly scan a vehicle’s tires anywhere in a service facility. The product’s lasers measure hundreds of points across the tire, according to the company. The system requires a wireless signal. Tire Profiles’ cloud-based software computes the tread wear, calculates the tread depth and determines if the wear indicates an alignment is needed.

The company said within seconds of scanning, the system creates a report to discuss with customers.

The Groove Glove features an integrated touch screen display, a bar code scanner for vehicle ID, and a camera for license plate recognition. It also uses an onboard gyroscope and accelerometer for accurate measurement.

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Mighty has a branded app

MDSA LLC, which does business as Mighty Auto Parts, unveiled a customizable smart phone app for tire retailers. The new app enables retailers to offer their own branded app to their customers through the Apple Apps Store or Google Play Store, said Gary Vann, senior vice president of sales and marketing (pictured).

The app tracks vehicle maintenance for the consumer and generates a report of all repairs. In addition to keeping service history by service type, the app allows dealers to send service reminders, coupons and maintenance tips to customers.

The dealer’s customers also can use the app to schedule service appointments.

“The app is branded with the retailer’s logo and identification so it is truly the retailer’s app,” said Vann.

Car lift accessory boosts productivity

The new Rotary Lift Wheel Wing tire hanger is a car lift accessory designed to improve ergonomics and boost shop productivity by making it easier to remove wheels for tire rotations and brake and suspension work. The accessory attaches to a two-post or in-ground lift’s swing arm, providing a convenient resting place for wheels. “With the Wheel Wing tire hanger, technicians no longer have to bend down to place a wheel on the floor or lift it back up to a raised vehicle’s height,” said Ron Lainhart, parts and service manager for Rotary Lift.

Each Wheel Wing tire hanger kit (P/N FA5974) comes with two tire hangers. For easy installation, the kits include hex keys and mounting shims. The shims can be used to adjust the tire hangers’ mounts to fit nearly any swing-arm style lift, including Rotary Lift’s SPOA10 two-post and SmartLift in-ground lifts.

The company also displayed 14,000-lb. capacity ARO14 alignment lift, which has been updated to offer greater precision, faster performance and new user-friendly features. The updates are also available on the AR14 closed-front alignment lift and as part of a bolt-on retrofit kit that can equip Rotary Lift’s new SM series four-post lifts to perform alignments.

Plus sizing guide update

Wheel Consultants Inc. will release the latest updates to the print version of The Ultimate Wheel & Tire Plus Sizing Guide, also known as “The Red Book,” in March 2015. The tire and wheel fitment reference covers current and vintage vehicles and provides data for OE and plus sizes.

Joe Findeis, founder and owner of Wheel Consultants, encouraged SEMA attendees to sign up for the digital version. He said the online format’s key advantages are continual updates and reverse lookup tools by bolt pattern and tire size.   ■

TIA inducts 3 into Hall of Fame: Industry mourns the loss of Harold Coker

The Tire Industry Association inducted Harold Coker, Charles Cornell and Juanita Purcell to the TIA Hall of Fame at TIA’s Tire Industry Honors event on Nov. 3, 2014, one day prior to the start of the Global Tire Expo.

Sadly, Harold Coker, founder of Coker Tire Co., died Nov. 16 after falling at his farm the previous day. He was 84.

He began his career in the tire industry with BFGoodrich and then started Coker Tire Co. in 1958 in Athens, Tenn., and moved to Chattanooga in 1961. The company is the largest supplier for collector car tires in the world.

In 1985, he served as president of the former National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association (NTDRA), where he spearheaded the effort to get NTDRA into the government affairs arena.

TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield said Harold’s passing is a tremendous loss to his family, his friends, the association and the industry. “It pains me because Harold was a mentor and a friend. He took me under his wing early in my career. He taught me a lot about the industry, politics and interpersonal relationships.”

Cornell, who died in 1952, founded Tech International in 1939. He was working in the rubber industry when he developed a self-vulcanizing process that repaired tire and tubes in hot or cold applications. The innovation led to a line of tire and tube repair products and set the stage for product breakthroughs at Tech International that included self-vulcanizing inserts, centering radial repairs and Uni-Seal repair units.

Cheryl Poulton, chairman of the board of Tech International, accepted the award on behalf of her grandfather.

Purcell serves as executive vice president of Purcell Tire, which was founded by her father-in-law, Robert M. Purcell, in 1935. In 1964, the elder Purcell invited his son, Bob, and Bob’s wife, Juanita, to help him run the three locations of Purcell Tire. Juanita continues to head up the company’s operations, which consists of three corporate office locations, four retread plants, two wholesale centers, 21 commercial centers, 25 retail locations and nine mine locations. In 2004, Juanita and Bob were named Tire Dealer of the Year by Modern Tire Dealer.

TIA also honored three recipients of the Ed Wagner Industry Leadership Award. On hand to receive their awards were Jim Smith, editor of Tire Review; Mary Sikora, publisher/editor of Scrap Tire News; and Tom Wright Sr., owner of Wright Tire Service in Anoka, Minn.

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