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SEMA, TIA promote 'spirit of cooperation'

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SEMA, TIA promote 'spirit of cooperation'

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and Tire Industry Association (TIA) want to make the 2010 SEMA Show bigger and better.

To that end, the two associations are going to work together more closely to identify the needs of show exhibitors and attendees “and act on them,” said Chris Kersting, CEO and president of SEMA, at a post-show press conference with the tire trade press in Akron, Ohio, on Nov. 24.

“It makes a lot of sense for SEMA and TIA to begin a collaborative effort and reach out to the tire manufacturers and tire dealers to better meet their needs.”

Registered attendees for the SEMA and AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo) shows totaled 120,000 people this year, down 7.6% compared to 2008 and nearly 18% compared to 2007.

The number of SEMA Show exhibitors dropped from 1,900 last year to 1,750 this year, a 7.9% decrease. That compares to a 5.1% year-to-year drop in exhibitors at the Tire, Wheel & Equipment Section (there are 11 show sections).

There were 5,237 registered tire buyers, up 3% from 2008. They represented 9.4% of the show’s total buyers, broken out as follows:

* 4.8% were tire dealers;

* 3.3% were wholesale tire and parts distributors;

* 1.3% were wheel centers.

Tire buyers make up the largest SEMA Show attendee category. The number one category, wholesale automotive parts distributors, accounted for 10.7% of all buyers.

Also, 9,800 buyers in all categories said they were interested in tires, according to Tom Myroniak, vice president of marketing and membership services. More than 11,800 buyers in all categories said they were interested in “tires and wheels,” and 19,900 buyers said they were interested in “tire- and wheel-related products.”

Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of TIA, said his association has to take blame for losing focus with the tire manufacturers over the years. “I think we’re better positioned now to (be the) voice of the tire dealer show.”

TIA President Wayne Croswell recently sent out a letter to tire manufacturers asking for their participation in a series of focus group meetings to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the SEMA Show. (TIA already has visited Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. and Yokohama Tire Corp., which didn’t have booths at the show, and Falken Tire Corp., which did.) The first meeting will be attended by both associations at RMA office Dec. 17.

Might SEMA be open to adding a commercial tire dealer section to the show? Kersting said SEMA is "very open-minded about things that will fit."

"I don't think anything is out of the realm (of possibility)," added Littlefield. 

“The timing is right to pull everyone together,” said Littlefield. “We’re going in with a great spirit of cooperation.”

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