Cover Story

Roy Littlefield - Tire Industry Association Executive Vice President

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Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), gives lectures to students as part of his “hobby”—a job as an adjunct professor of politics and American history at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. But he isn’t interested in lecturing SEMA about the decline in tire manufacturers’ participation in the annual SEMA Show. He’d rather talk about how to lure the manufacturers back.

“The bottom line is communication,” said Littlefield. “The big companies want to feel like it is their show.”

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Wayne Croswell -Tire Industry Association President

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When his software company asked him to become vice president of operations for a newly acquired tire industry company, tires had “no appeal for me whatsoever,” said Wayne Croswell. That was 32 years ago. Now, Croswell is president of ASA Tire Systems and the new president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA).

“I fell in love with the industry and the people, and it got into my blood,” he said.

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Tires, Wheels & Equipment New Products

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There were 290 tire exhibitors at the 2009 SEMA Show in Las Vegas last November, and tire buyers accounted for 9.4% of the total buyers who attended. In fact, their ranks made up the second-largest buyer group at the Show. This issue of SEMA News focuses on tire and wheel business. From the new products article that showcases some of the best technology and innovation the segment has to offer to the trends story where tire and wheel industry experts weigh in on the trends and challenges that face the segment, this issue is filled with information about the marketplace and the companies that have built it.

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Trends on a Roll: Tire & Wheel Market

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No single element can change the look of a car or truck like a set of tires and wheels. Thin or thick sidewalls, tall or small, chrome or painted, steel or aluminum—the combinations are endless, and each can thoroughly alter the appearance and the functionality of the vehicle. At last November’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas, a group of enthusiasts who were taking part in a marketing study confirmed the popularity of tire and wheel modifications. A whopping 84.6% of them said that they had bought tires or wheels for their vehicles, and for many—regardless of the type of vehicle they owned—tires and wheels were the first accessory they bought.

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Award Winning New Products

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The 2009 SEMA Show kicked off with the annual New Product Awards Breakfast, where 36 of the hottest new products for 2010 received their first of many accolades. More than 1,400 products across 13 judging categories were reviewed for consideration by a panel of specialty-equipment industry veterans.

Once their votes were tabulated, the award ceremony began with a keynote address from X Prize Chairman and CEO Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. During his remarks, Diamandis reminded attendees why the SEMA Show’s New Products Showcase is a critical barometer for the industry. Small groups of individuals with ideas supported by technology are going to shape the future, a reality he referred to as “revolution through competition.” The following companies rose to the challenge and took home the hardware. 

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The 2009 SEMA Show Photo Portfolio

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Admittedly, we couldn't fit everything in this 16 page PDF, but we came pretty darn close.

Experience the style, technology and innovation that was on display at the 2009 SEMA Show in this 16-page full color photo gallery.

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Moving Forward

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A total of 1,745 companies exhibited at the 2009 SEMA Show, and they were joined by more than 120,000 retailers, warehouse distributors, members of the media and other attendees, with about 24% of the registered buyers coming from outside the United States. SEMA staff and Show organizers offered new programs, enhancements and ongoing floorplan and organizational refinements to produce the best event possible, and the industry responded with gusto.

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First-Time Exhibitors’ New Products

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The annual SEMA Show unites specialty-equipment buyers from across the globe with the industry’s hottest new products. This year’s New Products Showcase provided a 25,000 sq. ft. stage where exhibitors’ newest innovations made their world premiere. Of the more than 1,400 new products on display, more than 200 were registered by companies exhibiting at the SEMA Show for the very first time. The following pages provide a brief introduction to the products that debuted in Las Vegas on behalf of the SEMA Show’s newest exhibitors.

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