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2015 SEMA Show -- Tires, Tools and Technology

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2015 SEMA Show -- Tires, Tools and Technology

With upwards of 2,300 exhibit booths showcasing thousands of products, the annual four-day Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show is an extravaganza of choice for attendees involved in the automotive industry. Yet some trends that speak to the over-arching preoccupations of tire dealers emerged from the abundance of products on display at this year’s edition, which ran Nov. 3-6 in Las Vegas.

Inside some of the busiest booths were products reflecting the larger business concerns of independent dealers, from tires that complement their product screens to equipment that boosts workplace efficiency to technology that automates the tire registration process. Inside conference rooms were industry experts speaking on topics aimed at improving the listener’s skill or business, from tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) to employee training to consum  er online tire buying habits and more.

Here are some of the products, services and education sessions that caught the attention of tire dealers as well as Modern Tire Dealer’s editors.

Hankook will expand Laufenn line

Hankook Tire America Corp. will add sizes to its Laufenn brand for passenger car and light truck tire lines in the U.S. market in 2016. Hankook launched the entry-level brand in November 2014.

“The Laufenn brand combines value with solid fundamentals, outstanding performance and style, and delivered solid growth in its first year in a highly competitive tire market that was consistent with our expectations,” says Hee Se Ahn, president of Hankook Tire America Corp.

The company says the Laufenn brand offers consumers seeking value, quality and style a wide range of quality products to meet a variety of driving conditions. The five Laufenn tire lines are: S Fit AS, an ultra-high performance all-season tire; G Fit AS, an all-season touring tire; X Fit HT, a SUV/light truck highway tire; X Fit AT, a SUV/light truck all-terrain tire; and I Fit Ice, a studdable winter passenger tire.

Expect two new tires from Kenda

Kenda USA will release tires for two market segments in 2016. The Kenda Klever ST will be available to dealers in the spring of 2016. The tire will be available in 30 sizes for 17-inch to 22-inch wheel diameters for the CUV/SUV segment. It will have a 60,000-mile tread wear warranty and be T-, H- and V-rated.

The Kenda Klever H/T2 will be available to dealers in the summer of 2016. The light truck and SUV tire will initially be offered in 14 light truck and P-metric sizes with more sizes to be added later.

The Kenda Klever H/T2 will have a 50,000-mile tread wear warranty for light truck sizes and a 60,000-mile tread wear warranty for P-metric sizes.

Greenball has a new heavy-duty trailer tire

Greenball Corp. int  roduced a heavy-duty specialty trailer tire, the 12-ply rated Tow-Master ASC (all-steel construction) tire. “As pickup truck towing capabilities continue to improve, we felt there was a need for a specialty trailer tire that could accommodate heavier loads and higher speeds,” says Randy Tsai, senior vice president.

Along with the Tow-Master ASC, Greenball displayed new OTR/agricultural tires, expanded Dirt Commander and Mongrel lines under the GBC Motorsports brand, new Centennial Terra Master commercial truck tires, and some new golf tires.

The new products include new designs and expanded size offerings. The company covers nearly every segment of the tire market with its family of brands.

Look for Duraturn passenger tires in the U.S.

Ken Coltrane, executive vice president of YC Rubber Co. (North America) LLC, is on a mission to spread the word about the Duraturn brand, and convince tire dealers they are a quality product for budget-conscious consumers. Coltrane hopes to build on the success of the Duraturn truck-bus-radial (TBR) products, which have been available in the U.S. for the past three years.

“I’ve had dealers tell me they like selling Duraturn. It’s easy to sell,” Coltrane says. “Our goal is to have a complete tire line.”

In 2013 the company began construction of a passenger tire plant in Xian, China, and production of three passenger lines began in 2014. Shipments to the U.S. were halted while the Department of Commerce considered implementing tariffs on Chinese passenger tires, but shipping has since resumed. And Duraturn is now offering 11 product lines. The passenger tires are part of the Mozzo family, while light truck tires are grouped as Travia products. The entire Duraturn brand is firmly rooted in the lowest tire tier.

“The tariffs are what they are,” Coltrane says. “We just have to do the best we can.” Manufacturers who used to supply tires in China are shifting production elsewhere, but Coltrane says there isn’t enough capacity to move everything. “There’s going to be demand for tires out of China.”

YC Rubber opened its branch office in Pasadena, Calif. in 2015 and has a sales staff of four. Coltrane says they are marketing themselves as an American company with quality marketing materials to support dealers.

“Our first challenge is to get into the market,” Coltrane says.

Coltrane says the company started with 50 SKUs, has 262 SKUs now, and “I could see us adding 100 SKUs in the next year” in passenger tires.

Atturo’s first winter tire, and an addition to the Trail Blade line

Atturo Tire Corp. previewed its first winter tire, the AW730 Ice, which will enter the North American and European markets for the 2016 winter season. Michael Mathis, co-owner and vice president of international marketing for Atturo, says the tire will be available in 15 sizes, spanning 16 to 22 inches, for sport utility and crossover utility vehicles.

The tire features a directional tread pattern, heavy zigzag sipes, a soft compound and wide shoulder channels to remove water. The tires will be manufactured in Taiwan.

Atturo also showed the fourth product in its Trail Blade series, the Trail Blade Boss. It’s created for XL dimensional sizes and the tread design is inspired by the Quartermaster QSA-1 Boss Hog knife. This is the third collaboration between Atturo and Quartermaster founder Jared West.

The tire’s center tread incorporates the “kurki” style knife blade as the oversized tread lug. It extends from the shoulder across the center line. The deep channel in the tread block serves to pull through deep slop and force debris from the center of the tread. Alternating shoulder blocks follow the outline of the knife handle. The high void ratio of the tread provides optimum grip across varied terrain. The relatively smaller center tread blocks are linked for stability from the high abrasion abuse of rocks.

The sidewalls of the Boss feature the same blade and handle shapes as the tread. Along with the visual appearance, the large sidewall lugs provide traction in deep mud, grab loose rocks and protect the sidewall from protrusions on the trail. Beneath the tread lies a three-ply sidewall for load capacity and protection.

The Boss will only be produced in large sizes to properly utilize the design features. The initial sizes will be from 37-inch diameter up to 40 inches, with rim sizes of 17- to 24-inch.

Hercules Roadtour 855 SPE completes premium line

Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. previewed its Hercules Roadtour 855 SPE all-season touring tire, which will complete the company’s premium family of offerings when it is launched during the first quarter of 2016.

The tire features full-depth siping for consistent traction that extends through the life of the tire, and 3D siping to increase the amount of biting edges for improved grip on wet roads and in light snow. Dry traction is enhanced by the asymmetric tread pattern’s larger blocks on the outside of the tire, while the smaller sections on the inside of the tire help in adverse conditions. The Hercules Roadtour 855 SPE will come in 36 sizes for 15- to 18-inch wheels. Hercules also is adding an entry-level offering, the Ironman GR906 all-season touring tire. Its tread elements minimize noise and increase stability, and high-density siping enhances wet and snow traction.

Hercules is a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Tire Distributors Inc.

LT and winter tires on the floor from Sentury

Sentury Tire Americas showcased its Delinte Bandit series line of LT tires, as well as its first studdable winter tire.

The DX-9 Bandit M/T tire features an off-road optimized tread. The ratio of rubber and void on the tread cleans dirt from the tire, and varying shoulder block shapes offer handling and control. Three layers of polyester cord fabric and high-strength steel belts in the sidewall resist punctures, and an angled lateral and longitudinal groove structure promotes drainage. The DX-9 is available in eight sizes ranging from 33x12.50R15 LT 108Q to 35x12.50R20 LT 121Q.

The DX-10 Bandit A/T tire features a five-pattern block design engineered to expel water and rocks and reduce noise, says the company. The special “cutting corner” on all borders of the groove pattern “makes it more dimensional, more stereoscopic and more effective at promoting driving stability and comfort,” according to Sentury. In addition, the bench-shaped shoulder design “provides excellent earth-grasping action for stable, high-speed turns under dry and wet road conditions.” The DX-10 is not only available in 22 LT sizes, but also four metric sizes: 275/65R17 115V, 285/65R17 116H, 245/70R16 107H and 215/75R15 100T.

The DX-11 Bandit H/T tire’s continuous center rib is designed to maintain straight driving stability, while its slant groove on the rib “improves braking performance,” says the company. The closed shoulder design is engineered to block noise from the middle of the tire. The DX-11 is available in 14 10-ply LT sizes ranging from LT215/85R16 115/112S to LT285/60R20 125/122S.

In preparation of winter, Sentury displayed its Delinte WD42 studdable winter tire and Landsail 4-Seasons all-weather tire.

Sentury’s first studdable winter tire, the Delinte WD42, is designed for SUVs. It is available in eight metric and five LT sizes. The metric sizes range from 215/70R16 100T to 245/45R20 XL 103H, and the LT sizes range from LT225/75R16 to 245/65R16 LRC 115/113R. The tire features rubber foam technology, which Sentury describes as “tiny bubbles in the rubber,” which decrease hardness in low temperatures.

The Landsail 4-Seasons, an all-weather tire, is available in 19 sizes ranging from 165/70R13 79T to 225/45R17 XL 94V. It features high-density stereoscopic sipes designed to “maintain block rigidity and enhance both control and performance,” says the company. “You get lots of biting edges to increase traction on wet, snowy or icy roads.”

The tire’s inside multiple cross-pattern design helps the tire “swallow” more snow “to enhance traction and grip on winter roads.” In addition, wide longitudinal drainage grooves channel road water out from under the tire for control in the rain and snow.

Sentury Tire Americas is a division of Qing-dao Sentury Tire Co. Ltd.

BKT introduces ATV/UTV tire

BKT Tires Inc. introduced an all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicle tire.

The company says the new Bogmax is designed for mud racing. It features the following: a special tread compound engineered for cut and chip resistance; a strong casing that helps it resist bruises and punctures; “sidewall protectors” extended up to the bead; and self-cleaning capabilities.

It also has a deep tread depth “best suited for deep mud,” says Michael Aguon, associate vice president of OTR. It will even perform well in “waste deep water.”

The Bogmax currently is available in one 6-ply size: AT32x10-14. The rim diameter is 8 inches.

M/T and winter tires from Omni United

Omni United (S) Pte. Ltd. is expanding its Radar brand of tires with the Radar Renegade R7 M/T and three winter tire offerings, the Radar RW-5, RW-5+ and RW-5S.

The Radar Renegade R7 M/T is the culmination of several years of research and development preparing for, and competing in, the off-road motorsports arena. It’s the brand’s answer for the serious off-road enthusiast looking for a tire with enhanced durability for harsh gravel and rock and traction in deep mud, sand, and snow.

One of the race-inspired technologies is the stone ejector. The Radar Renegade R7 M/T has a raised nub between the tread blocks that actively deforms when the tire is rotating, opening, closing and then releasing as the tire goes through the contact patch. This action helps to eject stones out of the tread pattern.

Omni United engineers modeled the action of stone trapping and drilling, and analyzed the reaction of traditional stone ejectors. They learned that most of the current solutions appear to only add more gauge in the tread groove with no active stone ejection mechanism.

With the three body ply construction, the third layer helps to strengthen and stiffen the tire to reduce the risk of punctures in the sidewall and tread areas. Upper shoulder side-biters have a functional purpose of delivering added traction in loose surface conditions, but also provide the rugged aesthetic truck owners crave.

The Radar Renegade R7 M/T tire will have a total of 30 ROWL sizes introduced in two phases, and the first 14 sizes are available now.

The Radar winter tire lineup consists of three product lines with distinct size ranges. The Radar RW-5, the RW-5+ and the RW-5S all have similar aspects, but the block placement, siping density and construction of the tires have been tuned for the unique characteristics of the principal fitments taking each size. This “customization” by vehicle type helps the tire work in conjunction with the particular suspension and handling characteristics to deliver improved handling, comfort and grip.

The Radar RW-5 was designed primarily for compact to mid-size passenger vehicles. The 16 sizes in this range are mostly H-rated, and target the most common winter tire sizes and vehicles in Europe, Scandinavia and Japan. The range does include sizes for several of the top-selling compact cars in North America, as well as some coverage of popular small CUVs in this market. The tread is directional, with a silica-based tread compound for more grip on wet roads.

The Radar RW-5+ is designed for mid to large sports cars, luxury sedans and mid- and full-size crossover utility vehicles. The tread design and tire construction take into account the increased weight, longer wheelbase and spirited driving capabilities of these types of vehicles vs. the Radar RW-5 target fitments. The tread pattern has a chevroned directional V-shape to provide increased levels of high-speed handling on dry roads. Like the RW 5, the tread compound has silica, an attribute often reserved for more expensive tires, the company says. This range is primarily V-rated XL sizes, and has several of the top-selling sizes for the most common luxury sedans and CUVs in North America from original equipment manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes.

The Radar RW-5S rounds out the offering. It targets full size SUVs, with two T-rated sizes and four H-rated sizes. The tread pattern is clearly a winter tire, but has more of a SUV/truck look thanks to the large tread blocks and wide open grooves. These features provide the grip you would expect from an all-wheel or four-wheel drive SUV in packed snow, slush or even muddy road surfaces common in the winter months in many northern states and parts of Canada.

“Receptivity to the three product lines in Europe and Asia has been excellent, and we are confident we will get the same reception in North America,” says Scott Rhodes, vice president of sales for Omni United.

A first for Horizon: private brand truck tires

Horizon Tire Inc. is marketing its first private brand truck tire line. The Supermax line features three premium radial medium truck tires that are SmartWay-certified. The Supermax HD1, HF1 and HT1 are produced in China. They are available in six SKUs: 11R22.5 LRG and H; 11R24.5 LRG and H; and two LRG low-profile sizes (295/75R22.5 and 285/75R24.5).

The Supermax HD1 is a premium closed-shoulder drive tire designed to provide “excellent traction and great wear,” according to the company.

A premium regional and all-position steer tire, the Supermax HF1 features a five-rib design for even wear and durability. Size 255/70R22.5 LRH will be available in 2016.

The premium trailer tire’s tread on the Supermax HT1 is optimized for “superior stability, excellent lateral traction and resistance to irregular wear,” says Horizon. It features a shallow tread.

All three tires are backed by two-retread casing warranties. Horizon said it also is working on a Supermax wide-base tire.

Track and mud: new tires from Maxxis

Maxxis International premiered two new offerings at its SEMA Show booth, the Victra VR-1 and the RAZR MT.

The Victra VR-1 is designed for the motorsports enthusiast, and features a compound that warms to operating temperature quickly to provide sturdy dry traction. The reinforced casing and sidewall design provide telepathic responses for what Maxxis calls “the ultimate driving experience.” The tread pattern maximizes dry performance while minimizing “white knuckle moments” in wet weather, the company says.

The RAZR MT features both an all-new tread compound and tread design with minimal pattern noise, while sidewall “armor blocks” and dual-cord construction promote off-road experiences. The compound includes chemical fillers for improved tear and chip resistance and tread life.

Bosch adds air motor to tire changer

Bosch Automotive Service Solutions has added an air motor to its TCE 4275 swing arm tire changer. A power assist lift will be available in the second quarter of 2016.

“The tire changer can service passenger, run-flat and ultra-high performance tires. With external wheel clamping, it can service up to 28-inch tires without the need for add-on adapters,” says Debo Sadare, product manager.

The TCE 4275 runs on 110-volt power, providing the same features as competing machines requiring a 220-volt electrical supply. The tire changer, which was introduced at the 2014 SEMA show, is competitively priced, according to Sadare.

The OCL8850 on-car brake lathe was among the many wheel service equipment products in the Bosch booth.

“If there’s any kind of run-out in the vehicle’s hub assembly, the driver is going to encounter pedal pulsation,” says Julie Jones, business development manager.

“The on-car lathe addresses customer complaints about pedal pulsation. Our unit mounts to the caliper. It will travel in the same plane to automatically compensate for run-out in the hub assembly.”

The lathe comes standard with adapters for 90% vehicle coverage, according to Jones.

Also on display was Bosch’s OTC brand 3838 wireless TPMS tool. It’s a standalone reset, relearn and reprogram device with an OBD-II dongle to plug into the vehicle, allowing technicians multiple ways to ensure TPMS sensors are correctly installed and programmed.

The tool will also read OBD-II generic codes and test key fobs, according to the company.

The OTC 3838 features an exclusive wireless OBD-II module for TPMS registration and includes three years of software updates.

Hennessy previews APS line

Hennessy Industries Inc. previewed a line of tire changers and wheel balancers designed for low profile, UHP and run-flat tires. The APS line will launch in January 2016.

The company says the APS 1000 tire changer and APS 1500 wheel balancer rely on advanced technology to aid and simplify even the most challenging tire service applications.

Hennessy also will convert its Baseline by Coats line to a stand-alone brand. The rebranded Baseline 500 tire changer and Baseline 550 wheel balancer will debut in January 2016.

Baseline models are entry-level machines that will service the majority of OE fitments and are intended for low volume usage.

Hunter stages a Revolution update

Hunter Engineering Co. unveiled a smaller Revolution tire changer packed with new features.

The footprint of the fully automatic tire changer is 25% smaller. The updated console has been integrated into the unit for better ergonomics and more adaptor storage. A flange plate is now standard to ease servicing of clad-faced and reverse-mount wheels.

Also standard is a camera kit to record every tire changing interaction and verify correct operation and training. “The camera protects your investment in the tire changer and protects you from fraudulent damage claims,” says Ron Hoctor, area sales manager.

New 1.4 software features an advanced control function for more freedom when servicing extremely high-end assemblies and a new, adaptive bead-breaking system. “It’s a software-based tire changer, which allows you to upgrade your system as new features are released,” says Hoctor. Other new features include a thick bead kit accessory for servicing range H and higher tires as well as off-road tires.

Hunter also introduced the Auto34S, a space-saving version of its Auto34 tire changer. The wheel lift is integrated into the housing to shorten the Auto34S footprint by 10 inches. The wheel lift also makes it easier to service large assemblies.

Features include a memory button that saves the tire diameter setting and returns the mount head to the same spot until reset, saving the operator effort and time when changing sets of matching tires.

Hunter’s display included a heavy-duty mobile on-site service truck for taking tire changing, balancing, alignment and other tire maintenance services directly to a fleet’s shop. Hunter says the mobile on-site service truck allows a dealer to expand service capabilities, eliminate downtime between customers and take advantage of an untapped revenue stream.

Demonstrations of Hunter’s Quick Tread drive-over tread depth unit included the new Click ID feature. A camera takes a picture of the license plate number, which is transmitted to Carfax Inc. Within minutes, Carfax converts the license plate number to a vehicle identification number (VIN) at no charge to dealers and consumers. “The VIN makes it a specific vehicle inspection, rather than a general check. It also eliminates keyboard entry errors on vehicle selection,” says Tom Settle, director of training for Hunter.

Winntec takes pain out of lifting tires

The Winntec HD-series Wheel Assist by Gaither Tool Co. Inc. helps technicians lift and position tire and wheel assemblies with the simple press of a foot pedal and ease of a single finger.

The Wheel Assist stands on its own. It requires no electrical power and it rolls easily from one wheel to the next, and one bay to the next. It uses gas springs to lift a tire from the floor. Once the tire is on the equipment, the technician can easily spin the tire to match up the bolts for proper fitment.

The Wheel Assist is offered in two variations, but the only difference is its height. The basic model positions the tire at slightly below eye level. The taller option is lifted up by larger wheels on its base.

Richard Brahler II, president of Gaither Tool, says the tool not only makes wheel and tire assembly easier, but safer as well. And it eliminates the macho effect of a technician who wants to do the job manually, but might struggle handling the tire.

Brahler calls it the difference of being “Mr. Tough or Mr. Smart.” The result, he says, is quicker tire changes, plus less risk of damaging wheels or ceramic brake systems.

Tech International tire spreader light

When it’s time to inspect a tire and prepare it for a repair Tech International’s tire spreader light is a bright tool to inspect every crevice of the tire.

The light features 12 bright white LEDs on a flexible 24-inch shaft that’s easy to maneuver. The slim profile allows for an unobstructed view, and the six-foot cord connects at the bottom of the shaft, keeping it out of the technician’s way. It comes with a universal mounting plate and is powered by a 110 volt  AC adaptor.

Size matters for Chicago Pneumatic tools

Lightweight and compact are the latest keywords for Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co.’s impact wrenches. The tool maker says there’s a growing trend for lighter and smaller tools with better handling and maneuverability, and the latest butterfly impact wrench, stubby impact wrench, composite angle impact wrench and straight impact wrench are all designed with those features in mind.

Brandon Oelofse, marketing manager for Chicago Pneumatic, says the CP7711/21 butterfly ultra-compact wrench, in 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch sizes, weighs 1.16 pounds and is 5.5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.

It delivers 80-ft.-lbs. of torque in reverse. The wrench is 15% smaller than its predecessor, meaning technicians “can get in tighter spaces,” Oelofse says.

And the same “size matters” updates were made to a pair of impact wrenches that will be available in early 2016: the CP7732C stubby impact wrench, and the CP7727/37 composite angle impact wrench.

The CP7763D/73D for heavy vehicle service applications features a new D-handle design that allows the technician several options and better stability while holding the tool. It comes in both a 3/4-inch and 1-inch version, and 6-inch anvil extensions are available, making it especially helpful in tire changing operations. This is the company’s first straight heavy-duty impact wrench available in the 3/4-inch size.

GearWrench enters power tools arena

Apex Tool Group LLC is branching out with its GearWrench brand into the world of power tools. The brand is adding a line of air impact wrenches to its offerings. The six-tool lineup is comprised of the 80 series and 81 series, and both offer impact wrenches in 3/8-inch, 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch sizes. The 80 series comes with a one-year warranty and offers three forward speeds and one reverse speed. The 81 series offers four speed options and is covered by a two-year warranty, says Bill Bliss, marketing communications manager for Apex Tool Group.

In addition to the new tools, the GearWrench brand booth also featured expanded size offerings of impact socket sets, impact extension sets, and its electronic torque wrenches.

Tire Intelligence expands price tracking

Tire Intelligence LLC announced it has expanded its price tracking service beyond the Americas to Europe, Asia, the Mideast and Australia.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company offers retail pricing services for manufacturers, distributors and dealers as well as digital content for use in selling tools.

The retail pricing service gives information about competitors’ pricing to dealers to provide guidance for pricing their own tires, according to Don Palmer, business development director.

“With retail pricing information, dealers can be competitive while maximizing their profits,” he says.

Dealers can use the digital content from Tire Intelligence for marketing their business through all types of platforms.

“We take all our own digital photos of tires. All the images have the same aspect ratio and same look to provide consistency across all applications,” says Palmer.

“Digital selling tools for product comparison enable tire dealers to effectively sell to their customers using a huge library of tire photos, tire specifications, 3-D views and interactive presentations. And it doesn’t take up floor space,” says Palmer.

Bartec shows how to adjust pressure

Bartec USA LLC’s Michael Rose explained how to adjust the TPMS low pressure trigger point using the company’s latest TPMS diagnostic tool, the Tech400Pro, to SEMA Show attendees.

“If you change the inflation pressure, it is recommended that you change the vehicle configuration for monitoring the pressure as well,” says Rose, who led “The Importance of Placard and TPMS” education session.

The TechPro 400 tool gives technicians the ability to change the placard value to reflect the new inflation pressure according to industry best practice and generally accepted service guidelines.

The capability to reprogram the recommended inflation pressure means the proper TPMS low pressure warning is maintained when tire technicians are plus sizing and up-fitting wheel and tire packages.

Rose, who is a product manager for Bartec, says three key features of the Tech400Pro are not available in other TPMS tools. They are placard pressure adjustment, wireless updating, and passive systems diagnostics.

Bartec also offered an educational session called “TPMS Triage, How to Know What’s Wrong With a TPMS.”

New products from Cemb USA

Cemb USA/BL-Systems Inc. had eight new products on the show floor: six balancers, one tire changer and one 3-D alignment system. Franky Mainetti, product engineer manager, offered a close look at the ER72 digital wheel balancer, which includes the company’s patented 3-D width sonar for reading distance, diameter and width of the tire.

He says the ER72 provides a lot of room to work inside the rim, which is helpful for putting stick-on weights inside the rim.

In addition, the ER72 “is the only one that gives the opportunity to correct the static imbalance using the laser spotter system.”

The SM951 HPA tire changer is a tilt-back tire changer featuring two assist arms on both sides for servicing run-flat and low profile tires. It can service wheels from 10 inches to 26 inches outside clamping and up to 28 inches inside clamping.

Main features include a fully adjustable bead breaker and an adjustable stroke limiter to prevent the shovel from going too deep into the tire rim, according to Mainetti.   ■

The week in numbers

Just how many people were in Las Vegas during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week?

This year more than 159,000 — a record number — attended the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show and the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX).

   Here’s the breakdown from SEMA Public Relations Director Della Domingo:

159,757: Total attendees at the SEMA Show and AAPEX

69,916: Buyers at both shows

64: SEMA Show seminars

2,350: SEMA Show exhibitors

3,505: Registered media

3,079: Products in the SEMA Show New Products Showcase

6,905: SEMA Show seminar attendees

1,181,400: Total net square feet of SEMA Show exhibit space

Triangle Tyre updates dealers on its plans for the U.S.

Triangle Tyre Co. Ltd. briefed dealers on its initiatives for the U.S. market during the SEMA Show. The company’s plans include building a global brand identity and establishing a joint venture company to distribute Triangle tires in the U.S.

Triangle Tire United States of America LLC opened on Nov. 2, 2015. It is located near Nashville, Tenn., and will provide sales, marketing and customer support services for developing Triangle’s distribution network.

Gustavo Lima is a partner in the joint venture company, which has a mission to “give a face to the Triangle product that has not existed before and to organize the market to give better service to the existing dealers and to increase the market share of the product in the United States.”

Lima, who is CEO of Miami-based Oriente Triangle Latin America Inc., which distributes Triangle tires in Latin America and the Caribbean, expects at least one logistics and inventory warehouse will be announced in the second quarter of 2016.

The opening of the U.S. headquarters establishes the Triangle brand as a major player within the tire industry, according to Chairman Ding Yuhua. The office is Triangle’s second U.S. facility. Triangle’s A3T LLC research and development center opened in Akron, Ohio, in 2011.

Despite trade challenges related to the U.S. government’s anti-dumping and countervailing duties, Triangle introduced the Sportex for the UHP segment and the Protract for the value segment in North America in 2015. “The consumer is always looking for better products to improve their lives and that’s Triangle’s mission, as well,” says Ding.

Many of Triangle’s products are not affected by duties. The company also manufactures light truck, OTR, medium truck and specialty trailer tires. Triangle is based in Weihai in China’s Shandong province.

TIA inducts five new members into its Hall of Fame

Five leaders of the global tire industry were inducted into the Tire Industry Association (TIA) Hall of Fame during an awards night that kicks off the 2015 Global Tire Expo – Powered by TIA and Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.

The late Ross Fischer, along with Herman “Hy” Freeman, Paul Hyatt, Raghupati Singhania and Bucky Stein were recognized for their contributions to the tire industry.

Fischer, who died in 2013, was the owner of McCord Auto Supply in Watseka, Ill., but was best known for his role in developing a wheel application for Goodyear’s flotation tires, allowing them to be adapted for use in agriculture.

In accepting the award for her father, Anna Perrin described him as an “old farm boy” who graduated from the eighth grade and “walked into those warehouses at Goodyear and saw the flotation tires and knew exactly what to do with them. With that idea he was able to create a whole new market for the tire industry.” Perrin and her mother, Beverly Fischer, accepted the award.

Freeman was a pioneer in the early stages of tire service and repair and helped establish industry standards for permanent tire repair. Freeman is retired from his job as technical services and training manager at Rema Tip Top North America Inc. Tony Maffia accepted the award on Freeman’s behalf, saying, “Hy is doing well, however at 98 years of age Las Vegas was just a little too slow for him.” The two men met in 1978 when Freeman taught Maffia how to section a tire. “He was like a surgeon. Each step was done with precision.”

Hyatt’s tire career began when he was a teen, sweeping floors and changing tires at Superior Tire & Auto in Toronto, Ontario. He eventually became the company’s owner and president before selling the 16 locations to the business’ original franchisees. He’s a past president of TIA, the Tire Dealers Association of Canada and the Ontario Tire Dealers Association. “Some people say industry associations are becoming redundant or unnecessary, but I stand before you tonight as an example of what an association can do for you,” Hyatt said. “When I was starting out some 60 years ago, I didn’t know much about business. But I met mentors and I met advisors in every association I was involved with, and they were all open quite freely to my questions. They gave me their advice and they gave me their ideas and I had Business 101 from the business associations I was involved with.”

Singhania is chairman and managing director of JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. in New Delhi, India. The country was decades behind Europe and the U.S. in bringing radial tire technology to the market, and Singhania led the way for its introduction in India. “The passenger tire industry in India is fully radialized and the commercial segment is 35%, expected to move up to 65% shortly,” he said. JK Tyre has a presence in 100 countries, operates nine plants and produces 20 million tires annually. Singhania also established research and development centers, and played a role in creating The Hari Shankar Singhania Elastomer and Tyre Research Institute (HASETRI).

Stein, the founder of Target Tire and creator of the Avalon brand of tires, said he started with nothing and “did everything the hard way because I didn’t know how to work smart.” Over the years he dealt with used tires and Army surplus, and learned how to vulcanize and groove tires. He attended seminars and was told he needed a business plan. He didn’t have one, but long hours and physical work didn’t phase him. He eventually found inspiration in words from Thomas Edison, and to this day he carries the inventor’s advice with him in his wallet. When the ink wears out, he replaces it with a fresh copy. “I never allow myself to become discouraged under any circumstance. The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are hard work, stick-to-itiveness and common sense.” Stein sold Target Tire in 2004, and most of the company’s stores were sold to his employees.

In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, TIA recognized two Ed Wagner Leadership Award Winners: Tom Klinge, managing director and co-founder of the Klinge Group, and Kevin Rohlwing, senior vice president of training for TIA.

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