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Adapt and Conquer: Obamacare, Tire Labeling and Tire Registration

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Adapt and Conquer: Obamacare, Tire Labeling and Tire Registration

There are three major issues you will have to deal with as tire dealers in 2016 and beyond. The first is Obamacare. The second is tire labeling. And the third is tire registration.

The good news? There are still plenty of details to be worked out in all three, which means there is hope that any unreasonable or unmanageable aspects of the laws will be fixed or disregarded. The time lag also will give you plenty of time to adapt. The bad news? Politics can get in the way of logic. Each law has its merits, but when it comes to small business, the government doesn’t always believe in compromise.

Nick Mitchell, senior vice president of research for Northcoast Research Holdings LLC, echoed that thought when asked to describe what President Barack Obama’s legacy would be.

“President Obama protects tire manufacturers and unions with tariffs, (and) burdens consumers and small businesses (i.e., tire dealers) with the cost.”

Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, is already up and running. Once a law is entrenched in society, it is hard to repeal. So don’t count on it being overturned.

Over time, Congress hopefully will improve Obamacare and eliminate the loopholes unfairly detrimental to you.   According to one dealer, the coverage for underachieving employees is more expensive than it is for hard-working employees.

Before tire labeling can go into effect, a national tire fuel efficiency consumer information program for replacement tires has to be established. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a “final” rule in 2010 specifying the test procedures needed to rate tire performance, there have been delays in its implementation. The comment period on how this information will be made available to consumers ends on March 30th of this year.

Mandatory tire registration at the point-of-sale became law when the president signed a five-year highway bill in December. However, a study to examine the feasibility of requiring tire manufacturers to include electronic identification information on every tire, and ensuring all manufacturers use a streamlined format for that information, needs to be completed first. In other words, there is no timetable for enforcement of the law.

As with many regulations in transition, the wait for the ball to drop can be frustrating. Just remember, history emphatically tells us you can adapt to anything.   ■

If you have any question or comments, please email me at bob.ulrich@bobit.com.

Want to read more of Bob Ulrich's editorials? See:

Pricing on Chinese tires: Tariffs are not having the same effect this time around

Getting the words out: Coming to terms with possible tire industry lingo

Safeguarding customer data is the real issue when it comes to tire registration

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