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Going global in your backyard

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Going global in your backyard

Once a year, the tire industry gathers buyers and sellers together in Las Vegas, Nev., for one week of face-to-face business meetings and seminars. This year, the Global Tire Expo will be held Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Sponsored by the Tire Industry Association (TIA), the Global Tire Expo is the centerpiece of Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week.

Large independent dealers were out in force last year. Nearly half of the dealers on the Modern Tire Dealer 100 list, and nine out of the top 10, attended the event. They accounted for 547 buyers.

The expo is an integral part of  the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.  In 2011, there were  2,142 exhibitors at the show, a 12% increase compared to the previous year, plus a record 61,000 buyers.

The growth was even more significant at the Global Tire Expo: The 239 participating companies represented a 24% increase.

“Where else can a busy tire dealer be able to meet with such a large number of suppliers and companies and ‘kick’ their wares to see what works for their tire dealerships?” asks Mark Cook, TIA’s director of communications.

There are many other business reasons why you should attend the 2012 Global Tire Expo. Here are five more.

1. Networking opportunities. This, in my opinion, is the best reason to go to the show. No one knows more about how to succeed as a retail and/or wholesale tire dealer than your peers. That’s why 20 Groups are becoming more popular in our industry. (In the spirit of full disclosure, MTD and Dealer Strategic Planning Inc. share resources as part of a strategic alliance. Dealer Strategic Planning invites non-competing independent tire store owners to join together in 20 Groups to improve bottom-line profits through idea sharing, financial benchmarking and best practices.)

2. New tire introductions. In the last five years, more than 100 tire lines — not sizes — have been introduced at the Global Tire Expo.

3. The expanded presence of Asian tire makers. Remember many decades ago when tire quality out of Japan was questioned? Then South Korean tires were belittled. Anyone have a problem with their tires now? I didn’t think so.

Most recently, Chinese tire manufacturers went through a similar cycle of mistrust, with the same result. In order to expand, they are aggressively showing up in Las Vegas, as are new (to us) companies from Japan (like truck tire manufacturer Hanksugi Tyre International Co. Ltd., pictured at left), Korea, India and Thailand.

4. Access to training. TIA’s program always includes management and marketing seminars. This year, it will demonstrate the benefits of its new Online University, which is designed to  provide basic and advanced training in a Web-based format.

5. The trip is tax deductible.  According to the Internal Revenue Service, a business expense must be both “ordinary and necessary” in order to be deductible. “An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business.”

Still undecided? I didn’t even mention the Automotive Aftermarket Parts Exposition, which is held in conjunction with the SEMA Show. How can you afford not to go?    ■

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me at bob.ulrich@bobit.com.

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