Rolling Along With Technology
|Entrance to Lower South Hall during the 2018 SEMA Show.
Over the years, the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC, formerly known as the Wheel Industry Council, WIC) has not only brought together two related industry segments for the common good but has also centered its sights on the collective technical and educational needs of its members.
The council has developed various deliverables to help its members improve their business practices and procedures. The “WTC Wheel Care Guide” is but one example. Designed as an internal training piece or as a retail countertop display, the guide offers tips and FAQs on proper wheel care, and it explains the common wheel surface finishes and the types of cleaning solutions for each.
Measuring sessions held at the SEMA Garage are often a big draw for WTC manufacturers seeking early access to new vehicle models to assist in the development of new products. But as not all WTC members are able to participate in those sessions, the council took the additional step of creating the WTC Wheel Measurement Database. The database contains wheel measurement information on new vehicles accessible through the measuring sessions.
The WTC added another resource to assist members traveling from out of town to attend measuring sessions but who may be unable to transport their tools. The WTC Measuring Kit, now stored at the SEMA Garage, includes more than a dozen tools, ranging from contour, PCD and lug gauges and 6- and 8-in. digital calipers to an 18-in. metal ruler and an assortment of plum ball components.
“WTC has always been focused on providing value to our members, and we look at doing that in a variety of ways,” said Gavin Horlick, who chairs the council’s technical subcommittee. “The tool kit is a real benefit, in that it helps our members who travel to the Garage for measuring sessions.”
According to Horlick, WTC is now working on another initiative: a brand-new wheel and tire installation guide. Long-time members of WTC, will recall the tire and wheel installation poster created more than a decade ago. While still in widespread use industry-wide, the poster has outlived its timeliness.
“The tire and wheel poster was actually created by WIC,” Horlick said. “It talked about simple things such as how to match the right bolt pattern to the right wheel or the right lug nut to the right wheel—basic safety-related guidelines. The poster was distributed through a variety of channels and still hangs in many retails shops. But the poster is outdated at this point.”
The new installation guide, Horlick noted, will include some of the basics, but it will also be expanded to address more current procedures and technologies, such as tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), which weren’t even on the radar screen when the original poster was developed.
“The new installation guide will be focused on the independent tire shop—a tool to teach their techs about proper procedures,” Horlick said, noting that the guide will be released in time for the 2019 SEMA Show. “It will be another tool that SEMA provides that comes from WTC. It’s the biggest task we’re working on now, and we think it’s going to be the
Addressing Educational Needs
|Education sessions are in the works for the 2019 SEMA Show to cater towards the wheel and tire industry.
With education top of mind for WTC, the council is committed to offering learning opportunities to its members. At last year’s SEMA Show, WTC tackled the topic of tariffs in two forums. While an expert panel addressed “Tariffs, Technology and Trends,” a seminar titled “Legal and Regulatory: Navigating the World of Import Tariffs” provided a status review of tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Recently, WTC collaborated with SEMA’s office in Washington, D.C., to present a June webinar, also on the topic of tariffs, which was led by Stuart Gosswein, SEMA senior director of governmental affairs. And though this year’s Show is still several months away, the WTC is already looking ahead.
While seminar topics have yet to be nailed down, Tyson Boyer, who takes over as WTC chair in July, noted that several ideas are under consideration, including a panel discussion and a roundtable featuring wheel and tire pros. But while Boyer is pleased with the prospect of WTC hosting educational sessions, he is more enthusiastic about the prospect of the sessions being held in the South Hall for the very first time.
Traditionally, most Show seminars have been held in the North Hall, requiring both South Hall exhibitors and attendees to trek through the entire Las Vegas Convention Center. According to Boyer, that has not only been an inconvenience but has also drawn traffic away for the Global Tire Expo.
“To have an educational center in the South Hall is outstanding,” Boyer said. “It shows the importance of our industry and was something the wheel and tire industry has longed for. The lower South Hall is labeled the Global Tire Expo, and we want a presence there. We discussed how we could achieve that with the SEMA Show leadership, and we’re excited that we’re putting the focus on the Global Tire Expo.”