Let’s face it: it’s harder to be an independent tire dealer today than in years past. That’s what longtime tire dealers we talk to—not only in interviews but also at ride-n-drives, on Johnny g & Friends and in What’s Treading episodes—tell us. From supply challenges to expanding tire sizes, the business has gotten complicated. And more change is on the way. As a new year approaches, ask yourself: How are you adapting to the choppy waves of change?
Being agile and navigating the market was one theme that came across in my conversations with tire manufacturers during the 2022 SEMA Show. Since the COVID shutdowns, tire makers, distributors and dealers have been through the wringer, trying to figure out supply and demand signals and respond to market trends. Some other changes that tire execs have on their radar include:
Right to Repair: This issue has been around since the early 2010s, but it essentially gives consumers the right to choose who has access to their vehicle’s data. During Tire Industry Association (TIA) events and AAPEX Show sessions, right to repair, which would now require automakers to give independent repair shops access to a vehicle’s telematics data, was a hot-button issue. Roy Littlefield IV, TIA’s vice president of government affairs, delved into where this issue stands on a recent episode of our podcast, What’s Treading. Get the latest update on pg. 26. The Auto Care Association also dived deep into this issue with Tire Review Senior Editor David Sickels for a special episode of our podcast, What’s Treading – Take a listen.
Electric Vehicles: Talk about buzzwords. Trust me, I don’t want to fall into that trap, but almost everyone has some sort of EV question on their mind. Tire manufacturers, they’re adapting (there’s that word again) to the high torque and greater weight these vehicles have that will impact tire wear, among other aspects of the tire. This year, TIA started an EV Advisory Council to develop best practices for servicing EVs. Tire Review’s Associate Editor Christian Hinton wrote about some of those best practices in a recent story on tirereview.com. Take a look here.
Consolidation: This one’s the elephant in the room. Sure, the big guys are getting bigger, and more private equity has found our industry attractive. But it also leaves you an opportunity to capitalize on what endears your independent tire business to your community. Steven Rathbone, managing director of the investment banking group at Stout, and Phillip Kane, tire industry veteran and consultant as well as the new CEO of Turbo Wholesale Tires, will give you a better picture of the M&A landscape in the tire industry on pg. 10.
What you need to know about industry trends and what to expect for 2023 are in the pages of the newest issue and so much more is on our website–from Michelin’s take on the commercial tire business to Yokohama’s view on the OTR sector and country profiles on China and Indonesia. These thought-leadership articles can help inform your business decisions for next year and prompt you to reflect on the changes you’d like to make to your business.
Remember the earlier question: How are you adapting to change? Open your Notes app on your phone–hell, do it right now– and jot down a few ideas of how you’ll adapt to change, use data to make your business better and make the most of this latest wave of changes in our industry. Here’s to your success in 2023!