The North American Tire and Retread Expo opened its doors between April 19-21 at the Ernest N Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was the third successive year that the show was held in the city they call the Big Easy, but in the light of dwindling exhibitor support, exhibition organiser Gustavo Lima has now decided it is time to re-evaluate the format for the event. Lima had announced during the exhibition, that in 2018 the show would be held in Nashville, Tennessee, but these plans have now been put on hold.
In a discussion with this magazine at the show, Lima explained the thinking behind the initial decision to relocate to Nashville; “Our vision is of a stand-alone tyre and retread show for the North American market, where professionals can come to have discussions and to do business. We have been supported in this endeavour by Crains who have put together a fantastic educational conference. However, unfortunately the show has not really received the support of the industry at large. Our thinking is that a move to Nashville will be beneficial because there are a lot of tyre manufacturers in that area and we are hoping that we will get more support from dealers.” Indeed, one of the key benefits of running a tyre show in a location such as Nashville is that is driveable for a very large proportion of tyre dealers and retreaders in the US.
Interestingly, Lima’s other show in Panama attracts widespread support from the Chinese tyre industry, and whatever the retread sector thinks of the Chinese, it has been proven time and time again throughout the world that good support from the Chinese is essential if a show is going to work in terms of financial viability and in terms of footfall. There were only a few tyre companies from China supporting the show this year, a fact which Lima put down to the threat of impending anti-dumping legislation against the Chinese. Says Lima; “The retread industry and the Chinese tyre industry needs to co-exist in this market because the Chinese do offer additional profit opportunities to commercial tyre dealers.”
We also put it to Lima that one way to make the show more viable in the long term may be to run the show every two years, as indeed do most tyre exhibitions around the world. Lima said that this is something that he would be looking at for the future.
Lima admits that part of his vision for the show is for a show for the retreading industry – there being no other dedicated shows for the sector in North America. It is true that most of the main suppliers from the retread sector, with the exception of the majors, continued to support the show this year. However, there were a number of significant absentees, in particular Central Marketing and Galgo Pre-Q, and if the exhibition is going to be successful in the future, these two major players will need to be enticed back into the fold. Those who attended reported a quiet show, but many reported good quality visitors and enough positive leads to make attendance at the show worthwhile.
Let us hope that the US tyre industry supports Lima’s plans for the show, whatever he decides, for the US market does need the exhibition to succeed. It is all about getting the format and frequency of the show right and managing the expectations of the exhibitors in a world where tyre shows are becoming increasingly regional. “We will now step back and rethink how best to achieve our vision for a tyre and retread event for North America and will inform the industry of our plans in the future, concluded Lima.”