Published on December 6, 2013

ACCC to dissolve; group's member distributors 'outgrow' structure

(Tire Business photo by Dave Zielasko)
Len Lewin, ACCC president and CEO

AKRON (Dec. 6, 2013) — American Car Care Centers Inc. (ACCC), one of North America’s largest tire dealer marketing groups, will dissolve as an organization by Jan. 31, 2014.

The group’s board of directors informed dealers and suppliers Dec. 6 of the decision, which ACCC President and CEO Len Lewin said was based on the growth and consolidation of ACCC’s member-distributors, along with changing industry dynamics.

“As you might imagine, the decision was not an easy one,” Mr Lewin said, “but after evaluating every alternative, we collectively came to the conclusion it is the right, long-term decision for all involved.”

The company came to this deduction after several months of discussion, he said.

Founded 24 years ago, ACCC had grown to encompass 21 distribution and retail operations with a network of 1,123 locations. It provided dealers with an array of programs, promotions and support while distributing more than 200 million tires through the ACCC network over the years.

  1.  “This is not an unhappy ending,” Mr. Lewin said in an interview with Tire Business. Rather, he explained, it is a result of the success of the program — where the member distributors have outgrown the structure of the organization. Some of those member-distributors joined ACCC 15 years ago and got bigger, and eventually they had no room to grow within their territory boundaries.

“The structure created in 1989 no longer worked for the membership we had,” he said, adding the big operations are in a growth mode.

ACCC consists of 13 shareholders — including Mr. Lewin — with 21 operations. They are:

  • American Tire Distributors Holdings Inc., Huntersville, N.C., and its Am-Pac unit in California and Tire Wholesalers Inc. unit in the Pacific Northwest;
  • Dunn Tire Corp., Buffalo, N.Y.;
  • Jack Williams Tire Co. Inc., Scranton, Pa.;
  • K&M Tire Inc., Delphos, Ohio;
  • Lisac’s Tire, Butte, Mont.;
  • South Dade Automotive Inc., Miami;
  • Terry’s Tire Town, Alliance, Ohio, and its Summit Tire Northeast, Taunton, Mass., and Englewood Tire Warehouse (ETW), Lyndhurst, N.J., units;
  • Tire Discounters Inc., Cincinnati; and
  • U.S. AutoForce, Combined Locks, Wis.

The member-distributors will continue to service their independent retail customers and will work closely with dealers to ease their transition into new marketing programs, ACCC said.

For K&M Tire, a newcomer to the ACCC family in 2011, the dissolution is the beginning of “a new chapter,” said K&M Marketing Manager Jeff Wallick.

“The changing of the business is probably the biggest piece that led to this new chapter,” he told Tire Business.

“Absolutely, the ACCC program really helped some distributors become really strong in their markets and obviously we all want to succeed and grow as companies.

“And along with that, certainly there were some challenges growing geographically, but I think it speaks to the strength of ACCC and the organization that Len has built over the past 20-plus years.”

Mr. Wallick said several of the major distributors that were part of ACCC have their own marketing group programs and will likely make a push to expand their membership base in the coming months.

“The group has made, really, a profound impact on the tire business in general, and it’s something that nobody’s going to forget anytime soon,” he said. “That said, I think there will be some reverberations throughout the business, particularly over the next six to 12 months for sure.

“Just like for the member-distributors, the American Car Care Centers program is an important part of our dealers’ business as well, so without that name they’re definitely going to see some transitions in their business. They’re going to have to make tough decisions.”

For much of the group’s history, ACCC marketed its own exclusive brand, the American Radial, but stopped offering it in 2011 after Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. phased the line out of its production schedule.

Mr. Lewin, who will work until March 31 to help wind down the company before retiring, said he is satisfied with what ACCC has accomplished, which was to support the membership. “I think there are a lot of examples of that,” he said.

“I think when you look at some of the members and where they are today, I sincerely believe ACCC contributed to their success.”

Looking at the organization, Mr. Lewin said ACCC has consisted of some of the finest distributors and retailers in the industry and this structural change will not impact their ability to service their customers or impact their forward progress.

“They are all seasoned organizations with experienced and knowledgeable people. They know how to win,” he said. “It is now time for them to begin the next chapter.”

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To reach this reporter, dzielasko@crain.com, or 330-865-6131.

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