New name, new focus, new identity

July 26, 2010

What in the world is the Global Tire Expo — powered by TIA? We know it will be held with the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, Show during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas, Nev., in November.

We also know that TIA (Tire Industry Association) has been an integral part of the SEMA Show since 1997. It sponsored the “Performance Tires & Wheels” section in 2008 and the “Tires, Wheels & Equipment” section in 2009.

TIA announced that the Global Tire Expo will be a little different. It will be open to all things tire-related except wheels, which has its own dedicated trade show floor section.

I asked Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of TIA, to break down his new show, word by word.

Global. “We’re a global industry, and we have such a strong presence from foreign countries,” he said.

That applies to the SEMA Show as well. In 2009, foreign buyers represented 24% of the SEMA Show’s 50,000 buyers, up 5% compared to 2008. They also represented 140 countries. And their interest in tires is considerable (I’ll get to that).


Ninety percent of the international buyers had the ability to make buying decisions or recommendations, according to Littlefield. That is 30% higher than the domestic buyers in attendance.

Tire. As a product of interest, SEMA Show attendees ranked “tires” second behind engine/engine parts and components. “Wheels, hub caps and accessories” tied for third with “replacement parts.”

Littlefield said TIA is trying to bring together all tire segments under one roof, from automotive and commercial to retreading and recycling. This effectively changes the TIA portion from “an automotive aftermarket show that featured tires” to a “tires-only” show.

Expo. Short for exposition, it means show. But at the same time, it provides separation. “We’re going to try to make it a show within a show.”

As for “powered by TIA,” Littlefield said the terminology is more than just consistent with other sections of the SEMA Show. It also represents more influence by TIA.

“We lost our identity. We want to re-assert our position in our industry.”

To reinforce this new focus, the expo will have its own branding, entrance units and color scheme in the South Hall. Tire manufacturers will receive a “greater level of prominence,” as well.


The ultimate goal is to create not only the premier tire event in North America, but also the world, and both TIA and SEMA are working together toward that goal. As part of its commitment, SEMA recently added TIA members to its show committee and Tire & Wheel Council.

“The Global Tire Expo is held concurrently with the SEMA Show,” says Peter MacGillivray, vice president of events and communications for SEMA.

“The shared venue allows the events to optimize cross-selling opportunities by exhibitors and allows attendees to visit the full spectrum of exhibitors. As the show producers, we can take advantage of efficiencies that are created in terms of attracting attendees (marketing), transportation and production-related functions.”

So come out to the Global Tire Expo and SEMA Show Nov. 2-5 in Las Vegas, and see the world.    ■

If you have questions or comments, please e-mail me at [email protected].

About the Author

Bob Ulrich

Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000 and retired in January 2020. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and had been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993. He won numerous awards for editorial and feature writing, including five gold medals from the International Automotive Media Association. Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University and has a law degree from the University of Akron.