TIA 'doing well financially this year'

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"One thing that's very important to us is that we be fiscally sound," Tire Industry Association (TIA) President Larry Morgan told dealers this morning at the association's annual Off-the-Road Tire Conference in Kissimmee, Fla.

Morgan reported that TIA "is doing very well financially this year," though he did not provide specific figures.

Morgan commented on a number of issues pertaining to TIA during today's opening session, including:

* the association's proposed checkoff program. "If we are able to collect a small amount of money per tire and have it properly spent, the consumer would have a better appreciation of what we do."

Morgan told that officials from the Rubber Manufacturers Association are getting together this week to discuss the checkoff program at greater length.

Potential success of the checkoff program at the passenger and light truck tire level "would gravitate" to the commercial tire market, including OTR tires, according to Morgan.

* TIA's Certified Store program, an idea that was originally introduced in late 2002. Such a program would involve a "documented list of correct ways to perform our business on a daily basis" that "would help with any litigation that might come about" from disgruntled customers.

* next year's World Tire Expo in Louisville, Ky., which Morgan predicts will be a "bang-up event."

* training. TIA will continue to bring training programs to dealers where they operate. "Times have changed. It's very difficult for (dealers) to send people hundreds and thousands of miles for training."

Morgan also mentioned that efforts to build TIA's name recognition "still need work."

TIA has some 4,700 members currently. The group's OTR Conference runs through this Saturday.

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