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The rebirth of ITMA

April 17th, 2011

Since being elected as President of the Imported Tyre Manufacturers Association (ITMA) six months ago, I have met with many colleagues within the industry to understand and identify how the association can ensure it remains relevant, providing the highest levels of support and advice for our members.

David Seward photo

Without a shadow of doubt, the tyre industry is facing a number of significant challenges over the coming years. Whether it is the introduction of mandatory TPMS systems on new vehicles, tyre labelling regulations or other new technical hurdles and challenges, all tyre manufacturers around the globe must have access to accurate and timely information. Without the knowledge or the impetus to act upon any impending legislative changes, products will become non-compliant and made obsolete in an increasingly short timeframe. Manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers operating in an already competitive market simply cannot afford to let this happen.

Therefore, one of the fundamental changes we will be implementing over the coming months is an improved dialogue with our members and bodies within the industry. We have already made a significant investment in specialist staff to assist this, and I am confident that members will start to see the benefits of this very soon.

Major representation

ITMA was established more than 30 years ago yet still remains as the only body in Europe to represent the interests of non-EU based tyre manufacturers. We currently look after the interests of more than a dozen tyre manufacturers and 25 brands from around the globe.

ITMA’s members form a significant and important part of the market. Across Europe, ITMA’s representative companies sell some 50 million tyres per year. In the UK, they account for around 25 percent of the replacement passenger tyre market. With such a sizeable membership, it is essential that ITMA is at the forefront of the industry, representing our members’ interests fully.

Technical compliance

One of ITMA’s fundamental principals is that our members comply with all technical and legislative regulations within the UK and EU. With much of the tyre legislation we see in the UK, Europe plays an increasingly influential role in determining policy and standards. It is fair to say that as an organisation, we are still in the early stages of playing our full part on the European stage, but nonetheless, we fully understand the importance of moving in this direction.

Therefore in a major initiative, we have recently appointed a Brussels based technical consultant to give us greater influence and access to Europe’s key policy makers. Additionally, ITMA’s European technical group meets regularly to discuss, debate and progress key issues. Initiatives such as these will help to ensure our members can remain informed and have access to the very latest technical information.

Dialogue and collaboration

As an Association, simply understanding and influencing policy decisions is not enough. For our members to benefit from this, we need to ensure we have effective two-way channels of communication. In order to establish these, we have to be more open and collaborative with other manufacturer, retailer and wholesaler associations everywhere, on both an individual basis and collectively, as well as through our membership of the Tyre Industry Federation here in the UK. I look forward to ITMA working closely with all colleagues throughout the industry over the coming months to help develop these partnerships, for our mutual benefit and the progression of the industry as a whole.

Effective representation

Although we cannot know for certain what changes and legislation will affect our industry over the next 5-10 years, we can be sure that it is no longer possible for non European tyre manufacturers to survive on the periphery of Europe’s tyre markets. Investment in production facilities, raw materials, distribution networks and brands must result in a competitive, legally compliant product in an age of increasingly robust enforcement by EU and national authorities. However, in order to achieve this, accurate and timely information along with effective representation at a national or European level are essential ingredients. With our renewed and re-invigorated approach, I am confident that ITMA will continue to deliver excellence and value in these areas, ensuring our members remain well informed and competitive.

David Seward, President, ITMA.