On April 16, Bridgestone Americas Inc. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. announced the birth of TireHub, a new 50/50 joint venture intended to consolidate both tiremakers’ U.S. distribution channels into a single organization focused on providing replacement tires for passenger and light truck vehicles to tire dealers and retailers across the country. The move combines Goodyear’s corporate-owned wholesale distribution network with Bridgestone’s Tire Wholesale Warehouse (TWW).
The TireHub organization will be based in Atlanta and be led by Peter Gibbons as CEO. Gibbons has strong roots in global distribution. Prior to joining the organization in January, Gibbons was with toymaker Mattel as executive vice president of global development product supply, as well as their chief supply chain officer. Prior to that, he was with Starbucks as executive vice president of global supply chain operations.
TireHub is expected to employ roughly 150 people in addition to about 1,000 employees across more than 80 distribution centers and warehouse locations nationally. The company’s physical assets at launch will be a combination of legacy Bridgestone TWW and Goodyear facilities.
Andy Traicoff, vice president of consumer sales for Goodyear, says the new entity will only improve on what’s already in place for tire dealers today, strengthening the footprint of and offerings of existing company-owned wholesale distribution.
“This is a natural evolution of our aligned distribution strategy. It’s not a left turn. We’re not changing course. This is just a next step,” explains Traicoff.
Traicoff adds that for tire dealers, it will be business as usual.
“There are no changes to our programs. Everything that we have in place with our retailers as the status quo, so no change from that perspective,” he said.
When asked about the described value gained from operational efficiencies as a result of the partnership, representatives from both Goodyear and Bridgestone said those net gains are not expected to trickle down to the dealer in the way of lower prices or other incentives. Leadership at both organizations shared that it’s really more about better managing the proliferation of SKUs and getting premium product to customers with speed and efficiency to meet consumer expectations and demands.
According to Traicoff, the TireHub management team is in place. He said Gibbons has worked with the two partnering manufacturers to build out a team made up of people from both Goodyear and Bridgestone, in addition a few other external hires. Representatives in the field will be a combination from both entities that he describes as “a combination of people who know what they’re doing in the tire industry and have been delivering tires every day for the last decade.”
“We think it’s an exciting time to be in the tire industry,” says Scott Rogers, president of North America Consumer at Goodyear. “We think TireHub will help our customers win in the marketplace. There’s lots of trends that we believe are shaping up for continued to increase replacement demand and especially for Goodyear products by consumers. And we think TireHub is a key enabler for us to help our customers win with consumers out there in the marketplace.”