The bigger the better. That was the message much of the tire industry heard in 1993-a year that saw large-scale mergers, acquisitions and agreements became reality.
Big O Tires Inc., the nation's largest franchiser of retail tire dealerships, laid the groundwork for a major push toward the East Coast with its June purchase of Tire Brands Inc., a Clearwater, Fla.-based marketer of private brand tires, including Sonic.
TBI became a wholesale division of Big O and was renamed Tire Marketers Association.
Dob's Tire and Auto Centers and Parnelli Jones Inc., two of North America's largest independent retail tire dealerships, merged late in the year, giving the combined company 94 locations in six states and annual sales of about $80 million.
The new company operates as Parnelli Jones Inc. and is based in Ventura, Calif.
Kal Tire, a 143-store retail/commercial chain based in Vernon, British Columbia, inked a major deal with Bridgestone/Firestone Canada Inc., in which BFS replaced Goodyear Canada Inc. as the dealership's primary tire supplier.
BFS also agreed to sell Kal Tire those assets-including 21 outlets-of its Crown Tire Service retail/commercial division located in Kal's principal market areas: Alberta and British Columbia.
However, BFS retained ownership of some 80-plus Crown Tire locations elsewhere in Canada.
Metro 25 Tire Centers Inc. announced it would reorganize as a cooperative Jan. 1, 1994.
The cooperative gives participating dealers and distributors ownership of the organization. The move is designed to turn Metro 25 into a stronger buying power.
Treadco Inc., Bandag Inc.'s largest U.S. franchisee, purchased Tampa, Fla.-based Trans World Tire Corp. for an undisclosed amount. The deal gave Treadco blanket coverage of the sunshine state.
Trans World Tire had full-service truck tire and retreading operations in Jacksonville, Orlando, Ocala, Tampa and Sarasota, Fla., plus a nationwide import tire casings business.
Treadco, North America's second largest retreader and commercial tire dealership, previously had 22 retreading facilities and 18 sales outlets, mostly in the South, but only one retread production faciity in Florida.
AKH Co. Inc., which does business as Discount Tire Centers, in April purchased the assets of David Early Tires Inc., a 15-outlet dealership based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The dealership's founder and former owner, David Early, retained ownership of the buildings and properties.
AKH already had 120 retail outlets in California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona operating as Discount Tire Centers and Evans Tire.
Don Olson Tire & Auto Centers of Clearwater, Fla., more than doubled its commercial operations by acquiring Airdrome Tire Centers Inc. of Tampa, Fla.
The addition of Airdrome's six truck tire centers increased Olson Tire's locations to 53, including 11 commercial truck tire facilities.
Durand, Wis.-based Bauer Built Inc. acquired two commercial/wholesale companies-Battery and Tire Warehouse Inc. in St. Paul, Minn., and Byron's Tire and Battery Corp. of Milwaukee-in preparation for reentering the private brand tire market after a 12-year absence.
Oxford Energy Co.'s largest shareholder, Dearborn, Mich.-based CMS Generation Co., agreed to acquire nearly all of Oxford Energy's assets-including existing tires-to-energy plants in California and Connecticut plus a proposed facility in Nevada and Oxford's West Coast tire collection operations.
Oxford Energy had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 1992.
Consolidation started to come to the warehouse club industry.
Kmart Corp. followed a spring sale of 14 of its Pace Membership Warehouse outlets to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with an agreement in the fall to sell 91 of the remaining 113 Pace locations to Wal-Mart, which planned to operate them as part of its Sam's Club chain. Kmart said it would sell, close or convert the remaining Pace outlets, leaving the warehouse club market completely.
Meanwhile, Costco Wholesale Corp. and Price Co. agreed to merge, giving the resulting company-Price/Costco-195 outlets in North America, with annual sales of about $16 billion.
In Washington, a coalition of 29 automotive and aftermarket associations, including the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, formed the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair, a group dedicated to improving technician training industrywide.
Members of CCAR, created with the aid of the Environmental Protection Agency, include the Automotive Service Association, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, the Automotive Parts & Accessories Association and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.