LAS VEGAS-One year after announcing plans to reorganize into a cooperative, Metro 25 Tire is looking to boost co-op membership and benefits as well as expand its reach through a partnership with a dealer program in Europe. During Metro 25's annual meeting, March 24-27, in Las Vegas, about 250 dealers learned about a new joint venture between Metro 25 and Axxium International Corp. of Italy.
The venture is an outgrowth of a 10-year relationship between Metro 25 and Pneus Acqui, a tire distributor based near Milan, Italy, that formed Axxium International in 1993, Mr. Rao said.
In Europe, Axxium has established the ``Club Axxium'' dealer group and selling system, he added. It offers members an exclusive tire brand-Axxium-along with an Axxium tire guarantee; competitive pricing to help secure higher profit margins; fast delivery; and marketing/promotion programs to enhance Club Axxium's image.
Under the new arrangement, Metro 25 will become the exclusive distributor of the Axxium line in the U.S. Axxium International, in turn, will help launch the Metro 25 program in Europe-with the goal of setting up a Metro 25 system in France by the end of 1995; in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium by the end of 1996; and in the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and the Scandinavian countries in 1997.
``This will take us one step above and beyond where we've been as a U.S.-only operation,'' said Metro 25 President Duane Rao. ``We will become a world tire company.''
Metro 25 will receive the Axxium high performance line in late April, he said, and eventually will distribute Axxium's full line.
Metro 25 also has formed an agreement with Michelin Americas Small Tires to distribute MAST's associate brand tires, including Cavalier, Miller, Brunswick and Diamond.
In addition, Metro 25 said it is negotiating agreements with other tire makers-including Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., Dunlop Tire Corp. and Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. Currently, the National brand is Metro 25's major tire line.
The Metro 25 meeting also touted the benefits of its newly formed co-op, which currently has 42 owners representing 102 stores. Mr. Rao said he wants to double the number of co-op owners by June.
He urged Metro 25 dealers at the meeting to join the co-op to enjoy added financial benefits as a part owner. He also debuted rebates and volume discounts available to co-op members, and several dealer programs, including a:
Media analysis to evaluate a dealer's ad programs and maximize advertising expenditures;
Financial analysis that identifies strengths and weaknesses of individual stores; and
Sales program for cellular, paging and security products.