SEMA, TIA Work to Create New Business for Tire Industry

SEMA President/CEO Chris Kersting at SEMA/TIA press conference
SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (right), with TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield (center) and TIA President Wayne Croswell, says TIA and SEMA will work closely to better understand the tire industry's needs at the SEMA Show (photo courtesy Bob Ulrich, Modern Tire Dealer).

Determined to heighten value in the SEMA Show among tire manufacturers, SEMA and the Tire Industry Association (TIA) announced a joint effort to better learn the needs of the tire industry and create new opportunities for tire makers and marketers at the SEMA Show.

At a November 24 press conference in Akron, Ohio, executives from both associations pledged to work together more closely, outlining plans for focus groups and meetings with tire companies, to help maximize the Tires, Wheels & Equipment (TWE) section of the SEMA Show.

“We believe that closer collaboration with TIA and sitting down with tire industry representatives will help us shape the Show so it continues to be an outstanding value for the tire industry," said SEMA president and CEO Chris Kersting

SEMA and TIA, he added, will “work closely to understand what the industry needs, and then to take action, so that manufacturers and dealers are better able to secure value for their investment.”

Tire buyer attendance at the 2009 SEMA Show represented 9.4% of total buyers, making it the second-largest buyer group at the Show. And despite the presence of 290 tire exhibitors, including 66 first-timers, overall exhibitor attendance in the TWE declined 5.1% from 2008.

The absence of long-time tire company exhibitors and the changes brought by a global recession, however, made it apparent that it is time to meet with tire companies and better understand their changing needs.

"[The economy] has changed the landscape of our industry and the SEMA Show, and there is no business as usual anymore," said Kersting. We have enjoyed a leadership position for the last several years and intend to continually improve the Show to provide an annual gathering that is relevant and gives a strong return on investment for the participants."

TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield also noted the tire exhibitor decline may be due to a slight identity crisis within the tire industry about its place at the SEMA Show.

“It became easy for exhibitors and attendees to begin to identify it as a SEMA Show with a tire component. Now the association is wrestling with how to make it a tire show.”

Asked whether future SEMA Shows might include showcases for commercial and off-the-road tires, Kersting said the association is “very open-minded and will consider ideas that will advance the value of the Show.”

“I don’t think anything is out of the realm,” Littlefield added. “I think what SEMA has said to us is, ‘Let’s find out what the manufacturers want, and let’s see if it makes sense to respond.”

Related coverage:

-TIA, SEMA to Study Ways to Pump Up SEMA Show Interest, Tire Business
-TIA, SEMA Officials Vow to Create 'True Tire Hall,’ Tire Review
-SEMA, TIA promote 'spirit of cooperation,’ Modern Tire Dealer