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5 years and counting: Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo

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5 years and counting: Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo

The fifth annual Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo in Panama City, Panama, attracted roughly 3,800 qualified participants and 233 exhibitors from over 78 countries, according to show organizers.

The exposition featured a gala inaugural party that included Latin Expo Group LLC CEO Gustavo Lima and President Marco Zigni presenting a check for $10,000 to a local children’s charity, Aldeas Infantiles SOS Panama, which helps neglected and abused children.

During the expo, several key executives from Bridgestone de Colombia SAS, Cooper Tire & Rubber de Mexico, and Continental Tire de Mexico spoke about topics varying from new marketing techniques to production capacity increases.

“As an industry, we must find different ways to sell our products,” said Sergio Prada, general manager of Bridgestone de Colombia SAS. Prada added, “No consumer wants to buy tires, so we must advise them and make the purchase more than a commodity — you need to move beyond the brand.”

Alejandro Martinez Avila, marketing manager for Cooper Tire & Rubber de Mexico, kept to the same theme in saying, “You must define the consumer and then differentiate yourself to that consumer.” Avila told dealers that the “service you provide is a huge benefit and that is what makes the sale, not simply the lowest price.” He warned that the “buy three and get one free” marketing approach is not correct, “and besides, what message does that send to the consumer about you?”

Continental Tire de Mexico director Ignacio Javier Mendoza Altamirano noted his parent company’s plant expansion plans will help ease supply concerns. He pointed to the Sumter, S.C., plant opening this year with plant production slated for five million tires annually by 2017. The company’s Camacari, Brazil, plant, opened in 2006 and currently operating with a capacity of five million passenger tires and 450,000 truck tires per year, would have an increase of 230,000 more tires per year within two years.

In addition, Matt White, director of tire service for the Tire Industry Association (TIA), spoke about new training and certification programs that the association has produced in both English and Spanish. A new farm tire training program has been introduced this year, and White noted that a new earthmover tire certification program will be finished in 2015, as will an industrial tire training program. White said TIA has trained more than 88,000 technicians to date.

Wrapping up the general session, David Stevens, managing director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB), used the occasion to introduce a new “Rubber on the Road” video that will be used to debunk common misconceptions about the rubber found on highways.

The 2015 Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo is scheduled for July 29-31 at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City.   ■

Pirelli launches 01 Series truck tire line

Pirelli Pneus Ltd. completed its launch of a new generation radial truck tire line at the 2014 Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo.

Targeted for Central America and the Caribbean, the 01 Series was developed at Pirelli’s Research and Development Center in Brazil. It is a complete line, with truck tires designed for all applications, including wide-base products.

The new family has a 15% improvement in mileage performance and rolling resistance compared to the Pirelli 85 line. Pirelli tested the tire in all conditions for three years with the help of top fleets in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

Pirelli backs the 01 Series with Fleet Solution, a package of systems designed to help fleets focus on sustainability and reducing operational costs.

The latest system is Cyber Fleet, which automatically and constantly monitors pressure and temperature from the tires through a sensor installed inside it. Cyber Fleet joins Fleet Check, an electronic tire management tool that checks tire pressure and tread depth. The tool uses software developed to collect data related to tire usage. It is used by Pirelli’s sales force.

“Pirelli provides these solutions on a global level, with the main objective of collaborating with efficient tire management, ensuring better performance, reducing operational costs and lowering impacts on the environment,” says Marcelo Natalini, the region’s commercial director.

Pirelli recently opened an office at Ciudad de Panamá, which will serve all countries in the region.

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