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Brityrex 2007 a success; 2009 show needs more support from the major manufacturers

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Fresh from a successful 2007 Brityrex International show at the G-MEX Centre in Manchester, England, ECI International Ltd. has announced that the next one will be held in the same venue in 2009.

The conference will be rescheduled to a new slot in September, however, to avoid a crowded exhibition program that includes two other major aftermarket trade shows in April and May, respectively.

"We're delighted with the overall feedback we’ve received from exhibitors and visitors and believe that we can continue to develop the show further in two years time," says Paul Farrant, managing director of ECI International.

"“The new venue worked well, exhibitors made real efforts to present themselves very professionally and we were pleased that visitor numbers increased compared to the last exhibition in Harrogate, two years ago."

Independently recorded figures showed that 2,358 visitors attended the three-day show, an increase of 13% over the re-launched show of 2005. Brityrex is the United Kingdom's only dedicated tire show.

"Although the visitor attendance figures show an upward trend, we still want to improve on that performance for 2009," says Farrant. "As a specialist trade show, it's not realistic or even desirable to bring in many thousands of visitors, but we believe that with the full support of all sectors of the industry, there is further growth that can be achieved."

James Boon, managing director of Hofmann Megaplan, one of the exhibitors, valued the move to Manchester. "Brityrex 2005 was a hard act to follow for us, but the move to Manchester this year... means that without doubt, 2007 will prove to be even better both in terms of immediate sales and long-term projects."

Darren Duguid, U.K. sales manager with tire wholesaler BITS, says he was impressed by the quality of visitors at the show. "The thing that stands out for me was the quality of visitors we spoke to. Because we were not constantly flooded with people on the stand, we had time for sensible and productive conversations with real prospects.

"That's why we went to the show, and hopefully, once we've done the follow up work, those conversations will result in business."

For Absolute Air Solutions’ Managing Director John Lazaretti, Brityrex has more than repaid the decision to exhibit already. "We've never exhibited at any show before, so we didn't know what to expect at Brityrex. But the reaction was superb, we did business, made new contacts and increased our profile enormously over the three days."

"Most importantly, we were dealing with serious enquiries, a lot of which has already translated into business," says Adrian Bader, managing director of Kings Road Tyres (Wholesale).

While many exhibitors enjoyed a productive three days at Brityrex, there also was widespread disappointment at the absence of major British-based tire manufacturers as exhibitors or supporters of the show. National Tire Dealer Association (NTDA) Chairman Peter Gaster was one of the participants who spoke out on the subject.

"The tire trade deserves its own dedicated exhibition in the U.K., and my own company, KRT (Kings Road Tyres) invested heavily, along with several other leading national wholesalers, to support the show.

"However, once again, the major U.K. tire manufacturers have failed to take advantage of this perfect opportunity to talk face to face with the trade about their latest products, such as run-flat systems, share information about their plans for the market and recruit independents into their various distribution programs.

"It continues to be a mystery to me why the manufacturers support all the other European shows but continue to turn their back on what is one of the largest markets in Europe," says Gaster. "Under my chairmanship, the NTDA will continue its efforts to convince manufacturers that supporting Brityrex should be a priority for future shows."

Duguid says the U.K. tire industry needs Brityrex to grow and develop into a major show, "and realistically, that will only happen with the involvement of the big manufacturers. They would add pulling power, credibility and status to the event, which could take it to the next level. They've got to be there in future."

"I think it's disrespectful that manufacturers cannot demonstrate support for the people that sell their products," says Steve Greatrex, who has taken TEAM Systems to every Brityrex since 1993. "None of us would have a business without them, but equally, they would be lost without the independents and wholesalers who market and fit their products.

"It has to be a partnership, and, at present, they are not pulling their weight in that partnership when it comes to supporting the U.K.'s only tire industry show."

Attracting the support of tire manufacturers for the 2009 show is a major priority for ECI International, according to Farrant.

"There's no doubt that their involvement would add credibility and pulling power to the show. And at the same time, Brityrex would provide a perfect platform to speak to independent retailers and distributors in person, which is increasingly difficult with the changing patterns of tire distribution."

ECI International will announce the specific dates for the Brityrex International conference and trade show in the near future. For more information, visit the exhibition Web site at www.eci-international.com.

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