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Past success creates future growth opportunities for Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo

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Past success creates future growth opportunities for Latin American   & Caribbean Tyre Expo

There were plenty of smiles by the organizers and exhibitors at the successful fourth annual Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo held at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City, Panama, this past July.

“We had 220 exhibitors and 3,370 registered buyers,” said Gustavo Lima, CEO of the Latin Expo Group LLC, with headquarters in Miami, Fla. This was a big increase from 2012, Lima told Modern Tire Dealer.

The show had 90% repeat exhibitors plus added new tire manufacturers to the list this year. A reason for the increase, “People come here to buy and sell, not talk,” said Lima.

“The expo has grown due to the opportunity that it offers exhibitors to present and sell their products to the Latin American and Caribbean tire business community in a location that is familiar to them and easy for them to reach – Panama,” Lima said.

Tire Group International LLC’s Chief Marketing Officer Joaquin Gonzalez Jr. said his company has exhibited at the show since its inception four years ago. “The show has been a hit since day one. In most cases these shows lend themselves not only to the marketing of your brands, but also the marketing of your company’s image and name. The Panama show offers a platform that is friendly on both fronts.

“We are primarily focused on the Latin America and Caribbean markets, so in terms of our target audience it really doesn’t get any better. That, combined with the fact that customers do not need a U.S. visa to go to Panama and the costs to attend are significantly cheaper, makes it a winner,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said that business in this part of the world is different than in the U.S. “Besides the differences in product specifications and size lineup, the bigger difference is the market fragmentation and the critical mass of the customer base.

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“Like in all markets, you have your big fish, and your medium to small fish. In the U.S.A. there are tons of big fish that pay their bills and have the financial means to market a brand correctly.

“In Latin America, the big fish pool is limited and you are left to deal with the medium to small fish that don’t necessarily have the critical mass to take full container loads from just one brand or segment, so that makes our consolidation warehouse a must to service these types of customers. This, combined with the fragmentation in terms of market coverage, makes coverage difficult at times.”

The show also comes at a time when dealers in the region are embracing the multi-brand tire approach, something that Gonzalez said wasn’t happening a couple of years ago.

With the growth comes a new set of challenges, however. The current show has filled up the Atlapa Convention Center, with many booths lining hallways. So, how to grow?

Next year, the 2014 Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo will still be held at the Atlapa Convention Center in downtown Panama City July 23-26.

Show Director Linda Bassitt says the government of Panama has commissioned a new and larger convention center that is due to be completed in 2014 (for history buffs, 2014 is the 100th year anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal). The new center will be used to meet the growth needs for the 2015 Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo.

According to Lima, the show will continue to be focused solely on tires and related tire equipment. Lima told MTD that he has been approached by other non-tire industry companies that want to reach the market, so he is starting a new show next year.

“We are organizing the Latin Auto Parts Expo at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama July 9-12, 2014. Due to the request from automotive parts manufacturers and distributors to participate at the Tyre Expo (which we had to reject), we have launched this Latin Auto Parts Expo,” said Lima.

The show will target companies in the automotive parts business covering all of the Central and South America region, including the Caribbean.    ■

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