RMA: Friend or foe?
Remember when the relationship between the two largest associations in our industry was contentious? We had the former National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association (NTDRA) on one side, and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) on the other.
Tire dealers versus tire manufacturers. You know what that is like. Sometimes you get along. Sometimes you don’t.
Times have changed, however. The NTDRA and the American Retreaders Association morphed into the Tire Industry Association (TIA), which includes both tire dealers and tire manufacturers. The RMA benefited from new leadership in the form of CEO and President Charles Cannon.
They don’t always agree, but the associations have worked well together of late, especially when it comes to helping craft national and state legislation. Ridding the aftermarket of unsafe used tires and promoting the necessity of state vehicle inspections are two of the issues they have supported jointly.
“We are very encouraged by our increasingly positive working relationship with RMA,” says Roy Littlefield, TIA’s executive vice president.
“Whether it is working together on legislative issues on the federal or state levels, sharing information, or speaking out on industry issues in the media, our industry is speaking with a united voice, and we are making a difference. And the tremendous support that RMA members are giving to TIA in the development, funding, and expertise of our training programs is producing the best industry training programs in the world.”
As dealers, you are probably more familiar with TIA than with the RMA, which is made up of eight domestic, and fiercely competitive, tire manufacturers. I asked new RMA Chairman Pete Selleck, who also is chairman and president of Michelin North America Inc., to explain what his job entails, and what lies ahead for the organization.
“The RMA chairman presides over the board of directors and helps to facilitate the discussions that take place around the issues addressed,” says Selleck. “The RMA consists of those tire manufacturers who have a manufacturing presence in the United States — Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper, Goodyear, Michelin, Pirelli, Toyo and Yokohama.
“Each RMA board member has the ability to raise issues for board consideration, so there’s an ongoing slate of topics that drive important and engaging dialogue throughout the year. I look forward to helping to guide those discussions.”
Selleck says the RMA has several priorities. “One is our continued pursuit of state legislation to prohibit the sale of unsafe used tires. We’ll be active on this issue in at least four states in 2014.
“The RMA will also continue to advocate strongly for responsible scrap tire management laws and regulations. It’s imperative that we do everything we can to ensure that both legacy and new scrap tire piles are cleaned up; that regulations on scrap tire haulers and businesses are enforced; and that states work with industry to promote economically viable markets for end-use tires.”
Environmental regulatory efforts will be monitored closely by the RMA in 2014, according to Selleck.
“For example, California has issued a regulation requiring companies doing business in the state to evaluate the use of chemicals in products, and this could be unnecessarily disruptive to many of our member companies. Additionally, the EPA is taking a more active role in chemical regulation that may have a broad effect on U.S. businesses overall.”
Another priority for RMA will be to urge the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a proposed regulation on the long-awaited tire fuel efficiency information program and rating system for consumers, he says. “It was back in 2007 that RMA successfully championed legislation that required this rulemaking, so we obviously have an interest in seeing it through to completion.”
Selleck describes the RMA’s relationship with TIA as “strong, collegial and effective.”
“The RMA board of directors strongly believes that the industry as a whole is best served by a healthy working relationship between RMA and TIA. During my past two years as a member of the RMA board, I have been pleased to see the important improvements made in how TIA and RMA interact. We want that to continue.
“Certainly, the two organizations won’t agree on every issue, every time. But in those situations, we want both organizations to find consensus where it may exist. In the end, RMA and TIA will be close allies on more issues than not.”
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