Famed Calif. Dealer May Disappear
Heavily debt-ridden and in bankruptcy, Winston Tire has been taken over by Goodyear Tire & Rubber, which is converting some of the locations to Just Tire outlets and has begun selling off the remaining stores. Meanwhile, the management team that has run Winston since it was acquired by Performance Management Inc. (PMI) in May 2001 is reportedly bidding to acquire some of the locations.
Winston was placed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy by PMI this past January.
In early October, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles granted Goodyear’s motion to acquire the Winston Tire stores in exchange for PMI’s debt to the tiremaker.
Goodyear, which manufactures the chain’s Winston brand tires, and American Tire Distributors (ATD), which sold the Winston chain to PMI, were Winston’s largest creditors.
Goodyear is converting 44 of the locations to Just Tires outlets, and said it will sell the remaining stores to independent third parties. A week after acquiring the Winston locations, Goodyear sold seven stores to Certified Tire & Auto. Based in Moreno Valley, Calif., Certified Tire now has 19 outlets with the addition of four former Winston Tire locations in San Diego and three in Riverside.
ATD said it plans to continue marketing the Winston tire line, which it holds the rights to, elsewhere in the country. Currently, ATD sells the line to tire dealers in some 33 states.
Meanwhile, reports surfaced that investor groups headed by former members of Winston Tire’s management and by PMI CEO Bryant Kountz and Sam Winston Jr., son of the chain’s late father, were trying to put together bids to buy some locations back from Goodyear.
TIA Launches Ambitious Strategic Plan; Call For ‘Certified Store’
Nearly a year in the making, the Tire Industry Association (TIA) unveiled its expansive and detailed strategic plan for the association, including plans for an ambitious "certified tire store" program as part of an overall push to improve consumer perception of tires and the tire industry.
While TIA officials admitted that meeting the goals set out in the strategic plan would take considerable manpower, effort and funds, they stressed the positive impact success will mean to all aspects of the industry.
"We aim to set our goals publicly, communicate those goals to the members and achieve them," said TIA President Tom Raben. "Everything we do, every effort we make, every speech a TIA leader gives, every dollar we invest, we are doing it in an effort to add value to industry businesses."
Larry Morgan, TIA president-elect, said the plan includes a detailed "to-do list" and is focused on public relations, government relations, member services, and education and training. TIA has "tied its budget to those things that need to get done," he said, and is looking to the industry for "intellectual assets" to help achieve the plan’s goals.
The strategic plan, said Raben, is based on several assumptions: "the tire industry is in a tremendous state of change; financial performance in the tire industry falls well below the desired results; TIA’s membership cannot be as narrowly defined as in the past; TIA’s survival is dependent on its ability to effectively add value to the industry; the association must recognize and solicit input from all industry segments; and the TREAD Act represents an opportunity to develop "standardization" and educational efforts in the industry.
The most aggressive aspect of the plan calls for an all-industry public relations campaign to improve the public’s perception of the tire industry and its products. The consumer-oriented campaign will promote "the safety and value of tire industry products," said officials, and will include the creation of a "trust mark," similar in nature to the Good Housekeeping seal, that members can earn by participating in planned education and certification programs.
The public relations effort will also seek to "educate industry professionals about the benefits of TIA membership and its efforts to assist industry businesses" and "inform members about the effect of the TREAD Act on individual businesses," said TIA officials.
In the member services area, "TIA will create and promote the ‘certified store concept’ for the tire industry." Those earning "certified store" status, said TIA, "have taken steps to limit their liability (and the liability of its suppliers) through implementation of ‘best practices,’ are in compliance with the TREAD Act, and have trained and certified their employees to the highest standards." Certified stores will be able to use the "trust mark" for their businesses and in their marketing and advertising materials, TIA said.
Additionally, TIA will work with localized associations to advocate membership in all industry groups; promote the CarCareONE credit card program; develop a Web site to house industry statistics and information; and assist members with insurance issues.
In education and training, TIA will create two new programs in the coming year. The first is the Automotive Tire Service (ATS) program, which teaches proper tire service procedures for technicians, and a program to standardize the determination of treadwear and other out-of-service conditions. In addition, TIA will help members comply with TREAD Act reporting requirements, and create educational programs for government and insurance industry leaders.
In government relations, TIA plans to "effectively represent the interests of the tire industry on current and future government affairs issues," including the TREAD Act, the Federal Highway Act, tort reform, business legislation, the Right to Repair Act, environmental and scrap tire acts, taxation issues and other actions that influence business in the tire industry. As part of the plan, TIA is creating a new publication to educate members about the political process and update them on TIA’s efforts, and it will continue to promote and leverage its political action committee.
Raben said that during the plan development process, TIA sought input from dealers and retreaders, tire companies and industry suppliers, tire media, scrap tire and rubber recyclers, and TIA board and executive committee members.
In addition to Raben and Morgan, TIA’s Strategic Planning Committee includes former TIA President Steve Disney, Disney Tire; Mark Whaley, Iowa Mold Tooling; John Adams, Big O Tires; Barbara Briggs, Briggs and Sons Tire; Jimmy Crews, Tire Treads Inc.; Wayne Croswell, ASA Tire Systems; Peggy Fisher, Fleet Tire Consulting; Tommy Harris, Harris Tire; Brett Matschke, Richlonn’s Tire; Larry Sehman, Sehman Tire; Terry Westhafer, Central Tire; and Stu Zurcher, Zurcher Tire.
New Forestry and Farm Tires Launched by Dynamic and Firestone
Dynamic Tire Corp. and Firestone Agricultural Tire have launched or expanded their forestry and agricultural lines.
Weston, Ontario-based Dynamic rolled out its new Primex Log Stomper FX, a new forestry line featuring a 23û angled tread bars, wide bar width, and shoulder buttresses for long tread life and resistance to cuts and tears, said the company. The Primex Log Stomper FX is now available in sizes 35.5-32, 30.5-32 and 28L-26, with size 24.5-32 to be added by the end of the year.
Firestone added sizes 800/70R38 and 480/80R50 to its Radial Deep Tread 23û line. Designed specifically for high-horsepower tractors, the new sizes feature a R-1W tread depth, durable and flexible sidewall rubber to withstand high torque forces, buttressed lugs for increased stability and grip, and deep 23≈ bar angle for optimum penetration in all conditions, said the company.
New Pirelli P6 Four Seasons Earns OE Fitments in Europe and N.A.
Leveraging its automated tire manufacturing technology and its recently launched P6 Four Seasons radial, Pirelli Tire North America landed several OE contracts, including fitment on 2003 Lincoln, Mercury and Ford models
The P6 Four Seasons, in sizes P225/60VR16 and P225/60VR17, have gained OE positions on 2003 Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Marquis models. In addition, the tire has earned spots on Audi, Volvo, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and BMW models sold in Europe and North America, and is being considered by DaimlerChrysler, BMW and Jaguar for other fitments, according to Pirelli.
In our October 2002 story on equipment depreciation, we inadvertently used outdated figures for allowable depreciation limits. First-year section 179 depreciation limits for 2002 are $24,000, not $18,500 as stated in the story. The limit for 2003 is $25,000. Thanks to alert readers for spotting the error.
Federal-Mogul Opens Automotive Friction Products Technical Center
Federal-Mogul Corp. opened its new state-of-the-art brake system technical center in Plymouth Township, Mich., in mid-October. The 35,000-square-foot Friction Products Technical Center will handle advanced brake friction research, development and testing.
The center features the latest test equipment for analyzing and preventing brake noise, vibration and harshness Ð historically a leading source of vehicle warranty issues for automakers and comebacks for service installers. The test and measurement labs feature several brake dynamometers equipped with noise and environmental chambers.
Customers, government officials and media representatives were among those who heard presentations by Federal-Mogul executives and toured the new facility. Frank Macher, chairman and CEO, provided an overview of Federal-Mogul’s financial situation and restructuring, and discussed how the company plans to maximize technology and enterprise value. "We are driving to make technology our sustainable competitive advantage, and this new technical center is a prime example of that commitment," said Macher.
Chip McClure, president and COO, gave an operational update, and discussed some planned divestitures that will allow the company to focus on growth areas and its "power brands."
Rene Dalleur, senior vice president of Federal-Mogul’s Friction Products Group, discussed the brake market and the company’s brake product strategy and initiatives.
Jay Burkhart, vice president of marketing, discussed the market performance of Wagner ThermoQuiet brake pads, which he described as the "aftermarket brand with the OE pedigree." Burkhart noted that ThermoQuiet pads are now available on premium loaded calipers, and that the company plans to launch a ThermoQuiet brand rotor late next year.
TIA Opens Registration for OTR Conference and World Tire Expo
Registration is now open for both TIA’s upcoming World Tire Expo in Louisville next March and its annual OTR Tire Conference, scheduled for Feb. 20-22, 2003, at the Pointe South Mountain Resort in Phoenix.
Those planning to attend the World Tire Expo, Mar. 26-29 at the new Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, can save up to 50% on registration by registering online at www.WorldTireExpo.org. The online system also allows users to reserve hotel rooms and purchase tickets to World Tire Expo special events. Attendees can also register by calling 703-736-8082.
Besides the trade show and seminars, the World Tire Expo will feature three special events: the Rubber Ball on Thurs., Mar. 27, at the Louisville Slugger Museum; the Industry Recognition Dinner on Fri., Mar. 28, at the Seelbach Hilton; and the TIA Foundation Golf Tournament, Wed., Mar. 26, at the Quail Chase Golf Club.
The World Tire Expo, focused on commercial tires, retreading and tire and rubber recycling, will include more than 25 educational seminar sessions. Details and schedules are available online at www.WorldTireExpo.org.
The 2003 OTR Conference will feature keynote addresses by Manny Cicero, president of Bridgestone/Firestone Off-Road Tire Co., and Oren Harari, renowned business and management author. Panel discussions featuring successful OTR dealers and on new technologies in two-piece tire assemblies are also planned.
The schedule also includes a review of OTR industry trends, a discussion of out-of-service conditions, an update on enforcement by the Mine, Safety and Health Administration, and a seminar on advancements in tire inflation equipment.
Individuals interested in attending the 2003 OTR Conference may register by calling TIA at 800-876-8372 or 703-736-8082.
Arnco University Keys On Flatproof Training
To assist its network of dealers to better understand the OTR tire market and enhance their knowledge of tire flatproofing technology, Arnco has launched "Arnco University" at its technical offices in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The University will offer a pair of two-day courses: one on sales and marketing flatproofing and another on application and processing designed for tire technicians. Sam Capps, who recently retired from Arnco as manager of technical service and training, will head the University as "dean."
"Knowledge is power, and the more our certified dealers know about flatproofing, the more power they have to sell the product," said Larry Carapellotti, president of Arnco. Carapellotti said Arnco field representatives will continue to provide on-site training, but the new two-day courses will provide "more detailed product and industry information in an uninterrupted setting."
For more information or to schedule classes, contact Arnco at 323-249-7500.
Five More Tiremakers Hike Prices; Yokohama Delays
Rising raw material costs, primarily oil and imported steel, have forced some tiremakers to raise prices recently. Cooper, Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone/Firestone and Pirelli have announced increases, while Yokohama said it would delay a previously announced increase due to the still-unresolved dockworkers strike on the West Coast.
Cooper said it was raising prices on its passenger and light truck/SUV lines by an average of 5% effective Dec. 1. Goodyear is bumping prices on its Goodyear, Kelly and Dunlop passenger and light truck/SUV tires by 4% to 5%, also effective Dec. 1.
As of Nov. 1, Michelin North America increased prices on unnamed BFGoodrich medium truck tire lines up to 4%. BFS said it was raising prices on its Bridgestone, Firestone and Dayton major brand, as well as house and private brand, passenger and light truck/SUV tires by 4% to 5%, and its major brand medium and heavy truck tires by 3% to 4% as of Jan. 1, 2003. Pirelli Tire North America said it was raising passenger and light truck/SUV prices an average of 5% as of Jan. 1.
Yokohama, which announced a Nov. 1 increase on all of its tire lines, postponed the increase until Dec. 1 because of delays in receiving inventory caused by West Coast port closures. The ports had been closed due to a dockworker strike.
Bob Purcell And Jack Woodland Named To Industry Hall
Bob Purcell and Jack Woodland were inducted into the newly combined Tire Industry Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the recent ITE/SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
The Tire Industry Hall of Fame is created from the previous International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA) and Tire Association of North America (TANA) Halls of Fame. ITRA and TANA merged in July 2002 to create the Tire Industry Association (TIA).
"This year’s inductees are two of the ‘leading lights’ in the tire industry," said outgoing TIA President Steve Disney. "Bob and Jack have contributed greatly to the tire industry, and are richly deserving of their awards."
Purcell, president of Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. in Potosi, Mo., is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the tire business. During his career, he expanded the company from three locations to more than 50 in 11 states. With over 1,000 employees, Purcell Tire ranks as one of the largest independent commercial tire dealerships in North America and the nation’s largest retreader of OTR tires. He has been an outstanding volunteer for his state association and TIA, and is one of the most active and valuable contributors to the growth of the TIA’s annual OTR Tire Conference.
Woodland, currently chairman of Marangoni Tread North America, began his career in the tire industry with positions at U.S. Rubber Co. and at Market Tire Co. in Washington, D.C., where he was general manager of a 13-store retail chain. From 1965 to 1977, he was with Pirelli Tire Co., first as president of its distribution subsidiary, and then when he served as executive vice president of Pirelli beginning in 1967.
He served as president and CEO of Oliver Rubber Co. from 1978 to 1994, before joining Marangoni as president and CEO of its North American group in 1997. During his career, Woodland has served four terms as chairman of the Tread Rubber and Tire Repair Materials Manufacturers Group, served as chairman of TRIB, and as a member of the Advisory Councils of ARA and NTDRA. In 1999, he was honored with the ITRA Industry Leadership Award.
Tech Taps Dates For 2003 Tire Repair Seminars
Tech International has announced the dates for its two- and three-day professional tire repair seminars in 2003. There are four different types of sessions, all of which will be held at Tech’s headquarters in Johnstown, Ohio.
Tech’s commercial dealer seminars will be held Jan. 12-14, Feb. 23-25, Mar. 23-25, May 18-20, Aug. 10-12, Sept. 21-23 and Nov. 16-18. Its section repair and retread seminars will be held Jan. 26-29, Apr. 27-30, Sept. 7-10 and Oct. 12-15.
Two dates Ð Mar. 9-12 and Dec. 7-10 have been set aside for Tech’s OTR repair seminar, and its TIA Commercial Tire Service seminars will be held Feb. 2-4, May 4-6, June 22-24 and Oct. 5-7.
For more information and to schedule, contact Bill Johnson, Mike BeVier or Brian Laughlin at 800-433-TECH or 800-366-TECH.
ACCC Launches New Line With Successful BIKE Promo
American Car Care Centers (ACCC) recently launched an all-new tire line, accompanying the launch with an already successful promotion program for it’s more than1,000 dealers.
ACCC’s new Uniroyal American Gold, a premium all-season radial, comes with a 600AB UTQG rating and a 70,000-mile limited treadwear warranty. According to ACCC, the co-branded tire is a first for the marketing group, and allows it to reposition its entire American Radial private brand line-up.
To help dealers launch the new line in their markets, ACCC rolled out its biggest promotion ever. The promotion started Nov. 1, in which consumers who bought four Uniroyal American Gold tires received a custom-made and designed BMX-style bicycle free of charge. According to officials, the promotion went so well that ACCC had to up its order of the Ace Gold Racers bikes. Participating dealers received advertising support material and funds, as well as POP display packages, and ACCC AmeriCash incentives to help with the product launch.
In addition to the mileage warranty, ACCC is backing the Uniroyal American Gold with a four-year workmanship or material defect warranty, four-year road hazard protection, and a four-year roadside assistance package. In addition, buyers receive free tire rotations, rebalancing and tire repairs.
According to ACCC officials, the addition of the premium-positioned Uniroyal American Gold also delivers more profit opportunity for ACCC dealers. It has also allowed ACCC to re-position its entire American Radial line, according to Dave Crawford, ACCC’s director of marketing. "The objective continues to be to provide an exclusive product line that is more profitable for our dealers," he said. "This new line-up meets that objective."
- Automotive Communications Council, representing numerous trade groups, endorsed the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign, a marketing and public relations effort to increase driver awareness about vehicle care, maintenance and repair.
- Pirelli Tire North America added a second MIRS module at its new Rome. Ga., plant, and plans to have a third on-stream by 2003.
- Bridgestone/Firestone said its TireStarz program, which began in September 1997, now has 35 distributors and more than 660 dealer locations nationwide.
- Employees, customers and suppliers of American Tire Distributors raised more than $40,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Ada Jenkins Center at ATD’s 13th annual golf benefit.
- Canadian Tire Corp. signed a five-year deal with NAPA Canada, in which NAPA will supply Canadian Tire stores with emergency parts and automotive products not normally kept in stock, representing about 14% of the tire retailer’s annual parts sales.
- Investor group Rollin’ International offered $500 million to buy bankrupt Consolidated Freightways, which ceased operations this past Labor Day.
- With over $900,000 in funding from donations and transfers from former ITRA and TANA efforts, TIA launched its new educational foundation.
- Continental Tire North America is providing provide medium truck tires nationwide at Flying J’s 14 J-Care Service Centers in the U.S.
- Even though its tire division posted a 48% drop in earnings vs. last year’s third quarter, Cooper Tire & Rubber’s sales through three quarters were up 4.6% to $2.49 billion, with net income of $88 million, up from last year’s $2.47 million.
- John Joseph "Joe" Flynn Jr., 60, president of the 19-store Flynn Tire Group based in Mercer, Pa., died unexpectedly Nov. 9, just days after returning from the ITE/SEMA Show.
- Goodyear is eliminating its 50% matching contributions to U.S. employee 401(k) plans.
- Federal Corp. reported that its third quarter sales were $28 million, up 22.7% vs. the same period in 2001, and posted a 38% increase in U.S. sales through the first nine months of 2002.
- Maxxis International is building a new radial passenger and light truck tire plant in Thailand, its eighth overall, which will come on-stream in late 2004.
- McGriff Industries opted to not renew its contract with Michelin Retread Technologies, and shifted all its retread production to Bandag’s system. In addition, McGriff agreed to buy four Bandag-owned TDS commercial centers and another TDS retread plant in Alabama.
- Missouri Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association changed its name to the Missouri Tire Industry Association.
- Michelin North America received two major awards from NASA for its work on Space Shuttle tires.
- The state of New Jersey sued Sears in October, claiming the retailer cheated vehicle service customers in alignments and other services.
- Kumho Tire USA’s POP displays for its recent Momo sunglasses promotion received a bronze award at the P-O-P Times’ Design of the Times Awards Competition.
- SEMA’s www.sema.org and www.enjoythedrive.com Web sites received outstanding achievement/standard of excellence honors in the Web Marketing Association’s 2002 WebAward Competition.
- NHTSA has stepped up the pace of its investigation into tire valve problems on Ford F-series pickups and Econoline vans.
- Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire installed a rolling tire simulator at its Akron test center. The first-of-its-kind machine tests rolling tire performance under replicated and actual loading conditions.
- Brake Parts Inc. has redesigned its Raybestos Web site (www.Raybestos.com) adding consumer education features, as well as online technician training and order look-up.
- For the first nine months of 2002, Bandag reported a consolidated net loss of $14.7 million against sales of $669.5 million, down 5% from $703.0 million in the prior year period.
- Former Bridgestone/Firestone executive Walt Weller was named director of marketing for commercial systems at Goodyear’s North American Tire division.
- Goodyear is eliminating some 480 jobs at its Lincoln, Neb., hose plant, moving that work to a new plant it is building in Chihuahua, Mexico. Belt production will remain at the Lincoln plant, however.
- Kenneth Ryan, 60, co-founder and president of Tire Centers Inc. from 1985 to 1994, died Oct. 27.
- Well-known and respected industry leader, Joe Kilcoyne, 78, died Oct. 18 following a long illness.
- Ken-Tool acquired Carica, a Phoenix-based manufacturer of specialty automotive tools.
- Truckstop chain Pilot Travel Centers plans to purchase 60 retail travel centers in 15 midwestern and southern states from Williams TravelCenters.
- TBC’s third quarter sales were $295.5 million compared to $278.9 million for the same period last year, while net income increased to a record $7.6 million for the quarter, up 28% from $6.0 million a year ago.
- Yokohama Tire Corp. served as title sponsor of the 2002 Yokohama Geolander Ultimate Baja Challenge, held earlier this month in conjunction with the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
- Mohawk Rubber Sales, the Hingham, Mass., marketer of tire supplies and retread equipment, celebrated its 70th anniversary on Nov. 4.
- Bridgestone/Firestone’s Firestone Destination M/T, the first successor to the discontinued Wilderness line, is a deep lug light truck/SUV tire, and is available in 11 Load Range C, D and E sizes.
- Martin Baumber, a Woodslee, Ontario, truck driver for Vickerd Brothers Ltd., was named the 2002 Bridgestone/Firestone Canadian Truck Hero Award, for his heroic actions that saved two women involved in a horrific July 31 collision in Woodstock, Ontario.
- American Racing Equipment unveiled 26 new wheels under its American Racing, Epic, Motegi Racing and Ro Ja brands, including the 26-inch Epic Icon.
- Joseph Lisoni, the California attorney who has spent months trying to piece together a class-action suit against Bridgestone/Firestone on its Steeltex line, formally filed suit Nov. 7 in Denver on behalf of an 88-year-old woman who claims to have been injured when a Ford F-350 she was riding in went out of control after one of it’s Firestone Steeltex R4S tires allegedly separated.
- Michelin’s BFGoodrich unit awarded Ken Shulze, an employee of a Sears auto center in Texas, with a 2002 Lexus IS300, the top prize in its year-long BFGoodrich Tires Kick Asphalt Tour contest.
- Jimmy Maners, Drum’s Tire & Battery, Rock Hill, S.C., won the one-million point grand prize; Forest Ratchford, Ratchford Tire, Clarksville, Tenn., won the 100,000-point first prize; and Gene Boseck, Tom Wilson, Inc., Bowie, Md., won the 10,000-point second prize in American Tire Distributor’s HeafNet Rewards anniversary sweepstakes.