California has the stuff dreams are made of -- the sea, sand, blue skies and balmly breezes.
Tire dealers and retreaders gathering for the 64th annual National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association (NTDRA) convention and trade show in sunny Anaheim, Calif., got to see what it felt like to live, for a while, in that atmosphere and discover what it would take to make their dreams of higher profits come true.
The topics of automotive service and professional training dominated the programs, and those in attendance learned how to increase their customer base by offering automotive service, and how to keep their new-found customer's loyalty by inspiring confidence through professional service techniques.
One highlight of the show was the successful unveiling of the NTDRA's credit card system, the Money Express. At the show, 797 dealers representing approximately 3,200 retail outlets signed up for the credit card programs' trial run.
The show offered attendees a wide variety of products and services from 260 exhibitors. More than 8,500 people reviewed the trade show floor and attended the wide variety of seminars, speeches and workshops offered to enhance the profit picture of today's and tomorrow's, tire dealer and retreader.
Following is a synopsis of the show's activities. Friedlander addresses topics of concern
With more than 60 tire plants closing their doors in the last few years, tire dealer choices and supply might become limited, noted Phil Friedlander Jr. in his address during the NTDRA convention. Concern, therefore, turns toward the ability of the dealer to satisfy his customers' needs while remaining profitable.
many are looking at tires from additional sources, such as South Korea. "Do imports offer an opportunity for dealer private brand owners to have sufficient choices not available in the United States in terms of selection of product so they are not in control or subject to the whims of only a few tire manufacturers?" he asked.
This topic was only one of many Friedlander discussed concerning the independent tire dealer of today. Another concerned the problem of direct selling. "Whether direct selling of truck tires is legal or not, it has created havoc on the profit picture of the independent tire dealers in the truck tire business," he stated.
The problems facing retreaders were addressed also, including the problem of radial casing shortages and the price differential between retreaded tires and imported and domestic new tires and retreads.
For 1985, and beyond, the NTDRA has proposed courses of action to help keep the independent tire dealer and retreader a viable link in the distribution system.
This includes a series of dealer panels focusing on marketing the new credit card created by the association. It will begin in 20 major markets, expanding to 50 markets in 1985 and 1986. These meetings will help insure the success of the Money Express card program, he said.
The association has also proposed the implementation of a consumer industry council, serving as a possible substitute for the Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) system, evaluating the possible problems consumers have with tire purchases. Additionally, tire dealers were reminded of the necessity of working toward the success of the voluntary tire registration. "Failure to make voluntary tire registration work could result in new efforts by the Congress to strengthen the mandatory requirements on the dealer," Friedlander stressed.
An industry study, sponsored not only by the NTDRA but also by the American Retreaders' Association and the independent tread rubber manufacturers and retread equipment manfuacturers, on the future opportunities in passenger retreading tire was also proposed. Topics proposed to be covered include centralized retreading production in cities, the possible advantages of setting up an export-import company for retreads produced in the United States, casing supply, consumer acceptance and pricing.
The association is continuing to pursue the idea of setting up an "800" service number program for consumers, another step in creating a positive image for the industry in the minds of the tire buying public, Friedlander said. Nevin outlines industry threats, opportunities
Despite the plunging fortunes of several world wide tire companies, despite the plummetng profits experienced by his own company in the late 1970s, and despite markets which he called "treacherous" for independent tire dealers and retailers, John Nevin, chairman and chief executive officer for Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., repeated that his company is committed to the tire business. …